Senate passes Acosta’s bill implementing appropriate disability language in state laws


       STATE HOUSE – The Senate today passed legislation (2023-S 0722A) sponsored by Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) which would implement appropriate disability language within Rhode Island’s laws.

“As our society continues to recognize the power and impact of words and labels, especially in regard to individuals living with developmental or physical difficulties, it is important that our state laws accurately reflect the growing evidence that these individuals deserve our compassion and understanding, not scorn or judgement.  This bill recognizes that individuals who have developmental or substance use disorders are people first and foremost, people who deserve our respect, empathy, and support,” said Senator Acosta.

The act implements the use of appropriate disability language by replacing the terms “developmental disability” or “developmental disabilities” or “mentally retarded” or “retarded” or “alcoholics” or “drug abusers” used in the General Laws, with the words,

“intellectual or developmental disability” or “person with an intellectual or developmental disability” or “persons with substance use disorders.”

            The bill now heads to the House for consideration where Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) has introduced the legislation (2023-H 5755).