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House Approves Bill Removing Derogatory Language in Ohio Law

June 16, 2021
Tom Young News

COLUMBUS – State Rep. Tom Young (R-Washington Twp.) today announced the Ohio House of Representatives approved House Bill 281, his bipartisan legislation that provides a comprehensive update to terminology regarding mental health and disabilities in the Ohio Revised Code.

The measure, known as the Mental Health and Disability Terminology Act, is joint-sponsored with State Rep. Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) and would change terms such as “lunatics” to “incompetent individuals” and “mentally retarded” to “intellectually disabled” in Ohio law.

“This broad-based approach emphasizes the individuality, equality, and dignity of people with disabilities,” said Young. “Rather than defining persons primarily by their disability or mental health challenges, people-first language conveys respect by affirming the fact that people with disabilities are first and foremost just that-people. The Ohio Revised Code should reflect our respect for these individuals by removing outdated, insensitive language.”

The legislation is supported by a number of statewide organizations, including the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, Ohio Association of the Deaf, National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio, and the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities.

H.B. 281 now advances to the Senate for consideration.