FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Jake Wheatley
from one Pa. law
HARRISBURG, Nov. 1 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, welcomed today's House passage of a bill that would redefine the term "mental retardation" as "intellectual disability" in a state law. Wheatley has introduced a bill to make the change in three other key Pennsylvania laws.
"Throughout history, other more pejorative terms were used to refer to people with intellectual disabilities. New terms were periodically developed which reflected a deeper and more compassionate understanding of the condition. As such, I believe it is now time we make it the official policy of the Commonwealth to use the term intellectual disability in place of mental retardation," Wheatley said.
"I am encouraged that the House and Senate have passed a bill to update and rename the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966, which would become the Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Act. And I hope the governor will sign it into law. However, we still need to make this change in three other key state laws -- Titles 1 (General Provisions), 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 23 (Domestic Relations)."
Similar legislation has become law in several other states and at the federal level.