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7/1/2019 Bill ensuring appropriate disability language in state job descriptions, regulations is signed into law
STATE HOUSE — Legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton) to ensure the use of appropriate disability language in state job descriptions and regulations has been signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo.

The law (2019-H 5289, 2019-S 171A) authorizes and empowers the personnel administrator to revise state job descriptions to incorporate the appropriate language. For instance, the term “mentally retarded” will be replaced with “intellectual and developmental disability.” The term “addict” will be replaced with “person with a substance use disorder.”

“We should always put the person before the disability. Many of the state’s job descriptions still reference the former Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals along with using a lot of no-longer-appropriate language,” said Representative McNamara, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.

The law will likewise authorize the Office of Regulatory Reform to update the same language in state regulations.

“It’s important to take this action legislatively,” said Senator DiPalma, “We were told that it would take the personnel director about 50 public hearings to fix these job descriptions. This will get rid of the old and offensive language once and for all.”

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903