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4/29/2014 6:00:00 AM
Arizona lawmaker pushes to have 'handicapped,' disabled' changed in state law
Rep. Stefanie Mach, D-Tucson
Rep. Stefanie Mach, D-Tucson

Matt Reinig
Miner reporter


KINGMAN - Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill into law last Wednesday that will change the wording of "handicapped" and "disabled" in applicable law, as well as language pertaining to age and gender.

Language in HB 2667 will rearrange current wording so that "disabled" or "handicapped" will now read "a person with a disability or handicap."

The law also applies the same rewording to owners, populations, pupils, family members, children and clients, among others.

The new wording pertains to such law as court-ordered civil commitments for those determined to suffer from a mental disease seen as posing a threat to self or others.

State Rep. Doris Goodale, R-Kingman, is one of 22 sponsors of the bill, initially proposed by state Rep. Stefanie Mach, D-Tucson.

Mach stated in a release the bill would also remove the words "handicapped" and "disabled" from all future government materials, such as signs that indicate parking for people with disabilities.

The Arizona Senate unanimously passed an amended version of the bill, and sent the bill back to the Arizona House for a final vote Tuesday, where it passed unanimously.

Mach stated in a release she is trying to change the way the state addresses people with disabilities.

Mach said she survived a car accident in 1997 and sustained serious burn injuries as well as the loss of an arm.

She said she is a person with a disability who understands the effect of dehumanizing words on a person or group of people.

"The current language is offensive," Mach stated. "My bill changes the archaic and offensive words in our statutes and replaces them with 'person or persons with disabilities.' These are the terms that most people with disabilities prefer."

The proposed language also removes the wording "his" in reference to "employees with disabilities," and instead simply uses "employee's" without the presumptuous pronoun.

The proposed language would also change "the elderly" to "elderly individuals."

The bill has no anticipated financial impact, according to the Arizona State Legislature.

The bill also encourages agencies, boards, commissions, departments, officers and other administrative agencies to make similar changes in their administrative rules, according to the Arizona State Legislature.

The Legislature also states Arizona law generally defines "disabled person" or "handicapped person" as an individual who has a temporary or permanent physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of the person's major life activities.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

"...tens of thousands of Russian Spetsnaz shock troops at domestic U.S. bases now...".

Using BIN and J.R. Moore as sources? Oh, please stop it, yer killing me. My ribs are just screaming from the laughter!


Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: Robert Green

This is a very good example of where our tax dollars are spent. Maybe it should read "where our tax dollars are wasted". Oh wait, maybe we shouldn't say they are wasted, that implies something entirely different. I know, "This is a great example of how well our tax dollars are allocated" Yes that's it.

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: How about .....?

Alternate media websites generally credit Henry Kissinger with coining that term - with reference, of course, to the New World Order (the same NWO which has tens of thousands of Russian Spetsnaz shock troops at domestic U.S. bases now, and is flying more in at around 1,000 per week - this from the Sergeant Major of AFRICOM, no less, everybody). I hold the reverse view of "I don't care what you call me, so long as you call me for dinner". Meaning, I don't care what the call me, if we're talking about bringing the resources of a government hell-bent upon this nation's ruin upon my life. Never mind the rubrics. But back to the disabled/handicapped/freaks/losers/useless eaters/whatever --- there but for the capriciousness of the gods go you. You'll have to figure out where to go from there.

Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Article comment by: Kevin Leger

As parents of a son with developmental disabilities, we find this bill ridiculous. It is a complete waste of the legislature's time, and will do nothing to change public perception or the way the disabled are treated. We also question that there will be no financial impact -- what about the cost of rewriting every state document? what about the cost to replace every handicapped parking sign?
It is disappointing that time and energy was put into this bill, when it could have been directed towards finding ways to increase funding for programs that support the disabled, or to APS for protecting vulnerable adults from abuse.
This also speaks to a bigger problem with our society -- that a vocal minority have become overly focused on trying to "force" their ideal of political correctness on the rest of us. The fact is, they will never legislate people to act or think differently because they were able to change a few words, or outlaw others.


Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Article comment by: Sherri Gorter

@ Larry Pruitt

I agree, seriously it is what it is. Whether you are handicapped or have a handicap it is recognizing the same. By no means is it rude or dehumanizing - it is just simply stating a fact. I get that it is simplifying the obvious that you as a whole are not entirely handicapped so you identify yourself as a person WITH a handicap. Truthfully that is by far having too much time on your hands and creating a bigger deal for yourself (pity) than necessary. And that in itself is more dehumanizing than just being labeled handicapped. It is like putting purple tape on your cut thumb and then saying please don't look at my thumb. I feel sorry for all the government workers who will have to go through all policy manuals and change the wording. Great tax dollars at work.


Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

Well, at least they didn't change everything to "other abled"...

Still a grand waste of time and energy.

How is "a person with a disability or handicap." any different from "disabled or handicapped person"? Even without the "person" added to the latter phrase, common sense says these signs and regulations aren't referring to a cow or vehicle.

Why not propose a bill to eliminate the stick figure in a wheelchair, used as the universal marking for bathrooms and parking? Not every "person with a disability or handicap" uses a wheelchair...I think that's discriminatory and dehumanizing.


Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Article comment by: Larry Pruitt

You have got to be kidding me. Some people nowdays are just way to sensitive ......



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