Arizona Legislators Pass Bill to Remove Words "Disabled" and "Handicapped" From State Law

Categories: I'm Only a Bill
parking-spot-disabilities.jpg
Tdmalone
A parking spot for a person with disabilities.


The Arizona Legislature has passed a bill that would replace the words "disabled" and "handicapped" in state law.

Democratic Representative Stefanie Mach, who was seriously injured in a car accident nearly two decades ago, says in a statement that the current language is "offensive." House Bill 2667, which passed the House and Senate unanimously, changes various laws to refer to a "person or persons with disabilities" instead.

stefanie-mach-side.jpg
Representative Stefanie Mach.
"These are the terms that most people with disabilities prefer," Mach says.

Changes include references to things like reserved parking spaces for people with disabilities. Instead of placing a "permanently disabled removable windshield placard" on a rear-view mirror, people will be attaching a "permanent disability windshield placard" to the mirror.

There are dozens of these changes made throughout Arizona's laws.

Obviously, the meanings of words and phrases change over time, and such changes to the state law take place periodically. For example, last year, lawmakers removed a horrible definition of "mentally ill person," which included descriptors like "an idiot, an insane person, a lunatic or a person non compos."

According to a news report on that change last year, legislators also recently removed references to "Oriental" people from state law, and also replaced the phrase "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability."

This year's bill referring to people with disabilities now only needs Governor Jan Brewer's signature to become law.

Interestingly, upon passage of this bill, we discovered a congressional candidate. We received a statement on this bill from a man by the name of James Woods, who, according to Federal Election Commission records, is the only Democrat who's filed to run for Congress in Arizona's CD-5 -- a seat currently occupied by Republican Congressman Matt Salmon.

Turns out, Woods is blind, and his campaign spokeswoman says he'd be the first blind congressman in nearly 100 years if he were to be elected.

"Seven years ago, I was hospitalized for a rare illness that nearly killed me and that ultimately left me completely blind," Woods' statement says. "I lost my sight, but I did not lose the ability to contribute to my family, my community or my state. For me and the hundreds of thousands of other Arizonans with disabilities, HB2667 represents a welcome effort to modernize the language our state uses to address us. This is an important step toward the removal of archaic, inaccurate labels that define us by our disability and that dismiss our contributions."

Woods has an uphill battle in his congressional race, as Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-to-1 in the north and east Valley district. Salmon won the seat in 2012 with more than 67 percent of the vote, while his Democratic challenger received less than 33 percent.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.



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54 comments
Robert Liccardo
Robert Liccardo

So governor signed the bill today: HB 2667 requires the state to use the term "persons with disabilities" instead of disabled or developmentally disabled in all state statutes. The term disability will also replace the term handicap. It sounds like the statutes are going to be reworded. As long as they don't spend $$$ on replacing signs everywhere...ok fine.

Sean Lee
Sean Lee

how bout we put more attention into education? or healthcare? or environmental issues?

Lisa Ann Hayes
Lisa Ann Hayes

Don't they have anything more important to discuss when people who are disabled and handicapped need those places and others frequently without placards, licenses or whatever park there anyway? What are you folks doing about the other stuff that needs to be done - this is stupid!

Robert Liccardo
Robert Liccardo

That would be great if the CPS budget wasn't ripped out of the new budget by the GOP to be "reviewed later" Later never comes.

Kurt Kreiger
Kurt Kreiger

And by the way--you moron-- physically handicapped people HATE the word "crippled". Your vocabulary from 1950?

Kurt Kreiger
Kurt Kreiger

Stiffen the rules. Until the penalty is actually worth it- people will break it

Nexkoyotl Techiayotl
Nexkoyotl Techiayotl

Oh to live in a world without hair-splitting political-correctness hacks. Hey Stefanie Mach, how about you focus your time on helping reform CPS instead?

Jack Henderson
Jack Henderson

And replace them with what? "Half a person"? *rolls eyes* People are way too sensitive. >_

Laura Johnson
Laura Johnson

WOW, just WOW! And several of you who posted negative comments are friends of mine...who are all positive for POT and whatever it is you are for....I AM DISABLED and had a TBI (traumatic brain injury) from a fall at home in 2007-due to neurological issues they still cant figure out. SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!! I support your PITS, YOUR DRUG Of CHIOCE, YOUR LOCAL BANDS, but until it "happens" to YOU, NONE of you five a SHIT!!!!!! I am So beyond ashamed to be friends with some of you right now it brought me to tears.

Patrick Bohler
Patrick Bohler

Haven't they got more important things to take care of? Can't even say retarded anymore without anyone getting butt hurt, what's next?

Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

those who are crippled prefer not to be called disabled or handicapped, and do not like being singled out as someone who has to be given priority over others. they are people, no more no less. besides, the only assholes i see using "handcapped" parking are god damn snow birds who can still walk...this is one civil rights movement you never learned about in high school history. get a clue.

Nick Paul
Nick Paul

It's all good I miss read things sometimes too haha

Amber Platt
Amber Platt

People are so sensitive !!!!! Ohmygawdddddd we are making people such babies

SueB
SueB

So now what do we call the "disabled" or "handicapped" -- fit for duty?

Robin Scott Andress
Robin Scott Andress

How about removing the decals from all the folk who pay a fee and take the spots closest to the door without having to prove their need.

Jessica Ache
Jessica Ache

because 'person with disabilities' doesn't mean 'disabled' --- OH GOD

Jake Geller
Jake Geller

It's the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which conforms with the proposed language change.

Michael Corral
Michael Corral

So how do would you rephrase "American Disabilities Act"?

Nick Paul
Nick Paul

Ummm I said it's not only people in wheelchairs

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

Dood! You just insulted wankers! Lol.

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

What do we call them then? I like "gimps".

james8394
james8394

So, James Woods is honest about being blind. Matt Salmon can't see how bad of a representative he is. 

Alex Johns
Alex Johns

Persons with disabilities is different than "disabled"?

Robert Liccardo
Robert Liccardo

I wrote to the Congresswoman not to waste time and money on this.

Robert Liccardo
Robert Liccardo

Your statement is wrong about only for people in wheeelchairs. I was born with CP and I use a cane. Believe me I hate being called the handicapped guy or even the disabled guy or the person with disabilities guy. Like I said in another post. Call the spots what you want, but put them closer to the building and not around the corner in the alley. Don't waste money on the name of the spots.

Robert Liccardo
Robert Liccardo

I don't give a crap what they call it. But I can show you a bunch of handicapped spots that are in stupid places for people to get in and out of. I can show you a ramp at Z-Tejas on Bethany that if a person with a wheelchair is rolling up, a person can not walk down the ramp in the other direction. Fix that stuff!

Jon Crowley
Jon Crowley

I'm reaching out to my Representative and asking "New Times" be removed as well, since they can't seem to stop fucking my skull and it hurts and I'm sad.

Warren Klofkorn
Warren Klofkorn

In a few years whatever term they choose to replace "disabled" will also become unacceptable. So it goes.

1959cutter
1959cutter

all the parkin' spaces at the state capitol look like the one at the top!


like peter griffin , "if everyone is special.............that kind of waters it down"

Tony Morales
Tony Morales

Because THIS is the most important issue in Arizona,...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

disabled = one who has disabilities


hth

Eugene A D Foster
Eugene A D Foster

Can't lawmakers find something more intelligent to discuss and our country has bigger problems i see way too much bullshit and the real issues are not getting taken care of

Nick Paul
Nick Paul

Next we will remove the wheelchair because not all handicapped/disabled (or whatever the PC term is nowadays) people that qualify for special parking are in wheelchairs

Samantha Doty
Samantha Doty

Disagree. People need to have thicker skin. There are more important things our government needs to be working on.

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones

Yet another of the "priorities" of our Govnmt? Still no education allocation, and still no budget.

jkingqm
jkingqm

Exactly, just like  "You are a person that has a crippled limb." is different than "You are a cripple." and "just like "You are a person that uses a wheelchair" is different than "You are wheelchair bound."

onemiller
onemiller

Yes, it is. One labels the person by a single aspect of their life. The other says they are people who happen to have disabilities. Big difference in how it feels and how other people see and treat them.

sblain
sblain

Except it doesn't cost anything. The language changes will be made when materials need updating anyway.

Original-American
Original-American

I'm glad the medicine is working. When truth is told to ignorant little minds, it will only hurt them.

sblain
sblain

Either we don't pass a bill OR we're suggesting it's the most important issue in Arizona? Holy false dichotomy, Batman! The vast majority of bills introduced in AZ are, like this one, technical corrections to existing statute.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@onemiller  


Person with a criminal conviction vs. Convicted Criminal


Person without a valid visa vs. Illegal Alien





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