Some old sections of state law could be getting a rewrite to remove archaic and sometimes offensive words like idiot and mentally retarded. Boise Democratic Sen. Les Bock introduced a plan Monday afternoon in a Senate committee to get rid of outdated words related mostly to mental disabilities. “Right now we use mentally retarded, we use mentally deficient,” Bock said. Three separate statutes use the word retarded. “There’s also one use of idiot and one use of lunatic. And so, we would amend the Idaho code across the board to change that terminology into terminology that’s really more reflective of current science and current diagnostics.”
Bock said he does not expect any serious opposition to the plan, which he has been working on since the last legislative session. “It’s one of those feel-good bills most people would sign onto.” He’s held meetings with all affected state agencies, and run the idea by the governor’s office. “Everybody participated,” he said. Some may view the changes as bowing to political correctness, but Bock said it is important to clean up the laws on the books. “It sends a good message to people who have disabilities. It sends a good message to people in other states, too, that this is a welcoming state that is respectful of other people.”
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