Ohio Reps vote to ban 'R-word' from state law

Posted at 2:03 PM, Jan 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-30 14:13:34-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- On Tuesday, the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously voted to pass a bill that would remove the 'R-word' from state law.

The Bill, HB 158, would replace the term "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability" in state code. Rep. Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) and Rep. Stephanie D. Howse (D-Cleveland).

“The term ‘mentally retarded’ has a negative connotation and many find the term offensive. It is time that we ensure these individuals are able to hold their heads high and not be labeled with demeaning terms,” Dever said in a press release. “Those with intellectual disabilities continue to face a certain derogatory stigma in our society and we must do our part to combat that stigma.”

Last legislative session, Indiana passed a similar bill which was signed into law in July. 

Both changes reflect Rosa's Law, a federal initiative signed into law in 2010 by President Obama. Rosa's Law eliminates “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from language in federal health, education and labor laws.

HB 158 passed the House 95-0 and will move to the Senate for approval.