State Capitol News
10:27 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Legislation Eliminates Offensive Terms from State Verbiage

State lawmakers gave final approval Monday to eliminating words from state laws — words that some find offensive. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Credit pbp1.com


There are various references in state statute to those considered disabled or handicapped. Rep. Stefanie Mach said these words have negative connotations.

“In order for them to be seen as contributing, fully contributing members of society, they want to be seen as people first, people who have physical and mental impairments, as opposed to wholly disabled in some way and therefore not able to contribute in the same way a lot of other people in society do,” Mach said.

And Mach, who was burned and lost an arm as a teen in a traffic accident, said the term “handicapped” definitely had to go.

“It has come to be known as a person who hands out their cap. In other word, a beggar. And a lot of people just feel that’s offensive. They don’t want to be known as beggars when they do, again, contribute a lot to society,” he said.

The legislation which now goes to the governor requires all state laws on the subject to now be replaced with references to what Mach said is a more positive phrase — people with disabilities.