Mentally retarded; replaces term with intellectually disabled. (HB760)

Introduced By

Del. Chuck Caputo (D-Oak Hill) with support from 21 copatrons, whose average partisan position is:

Those copatrons are Del. Dave Albo (R-Springfield), Del. Kris Amundson (D-Mount Vernon), Del. Mamye BaCote (D-Newport News), Del. David Bulova (D-Fairfax), Del. Algie Howell (D-Norfolk), Del. Ken Melvin (D-Portsmouth), Del. Paula Miller (D-Norfolk), Del. Brian Moran (D-Alexandria), Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston), Del. David Poisson (D-Sterling), Del. Jim Scott (D-Merrifield), Del. Steve Shannon (D-Vienna), Del. Mark Sickles (D-Alexandria), Del. David Toscano (D-Charlottesville), Del. Roslyn Tyler (D-Jarratt), Del. Shannon Valentine (D-Lynchburg), Sen. Kenneth Alexander (D-Norfolk), Sen. George Barker (D-Alexandria), Sen. Roz Dance (D-Petersburg), Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-Alexandria)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Replacing "mentally retarded" with "intellectually disabled." Replaces the term "mentally retarded" with the term "intellectually disabled" and replaces the term "mental retardation" with the term "intellectual disability" throughout the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/08/2008Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/08 087870456
01/08/2008Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
01/14/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB760)
01/15/2008Reported from Health, Welfare and Institutions (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/15/2008Referred to Committee on Appropriations
01/18/2008Assigned App. sub: Health & Human Resources (Hamilton)
02/08/2008Reported from Appropriations with substitute (24-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2008Committee substitute printed 088564456-H1
02/09/2008Read first time
02/11/2008Read second time
02/11/2008Committee substitute agreed to 088564456-H1
02/11/2008Motion to refer to Courts of Justice committee rejected
02/11/2008Amendment by Delegate Marshall, R.G. rejected
02/11/2008Amendment by Delegate Kilgore agreed to
02/11/2008Engrossed by House - committee substitute with amendment HB760EH1
02/11/2008Printed as engrossed 088564456-EH1
02/12/2008Read third time and passed House (96-Y 3-N)
02/12/2008VOTE: --- PASSAGE (96-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2008Communicated to Senate
02/13/2008Constitutional reading dispensed
02/13/2008Referred to Committee on Education and Health
02/15/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB760EH1)
02/28/2008Reported from Education and Health with substitute (15-Y 0-N)
02/28/2008Committee substitute printed 084110456-S1
02/29/2008Passed by for the day
03/03/2008Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)
03/04/2008Read third time
03/04/2008Reading of substitute waived
03/04/2008Committee substitute agreed to 084110456-S1
03/04/2008Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB760S1
03/04/2008Passed Senate with substitute (40-Y 0-N)
03/05/2008VOTE: --- ADOPTION (7-Y 91-N)
03/05/2008Placed on Calendar
03/05/2008Senate substitute rejected by House (7-Y 91-N)
03/05/2008VOTE: --- REJECTED (7-Y 91-N)
03/06/2008Senate insisted on substitute (40-Y 0-N)
03/06/2008Senate requested conference committee
03/06/2008House acceded to request
03/06/2008Conferees appointed by House
03/06/2008Delegates: Caputo, Griffith, Peace
03/06/2008Conferees appointed by Senate
03/06/2008Senators: Ticer, Miller, J.C., Northam
03/07/2008Conference substitute printed 084117456-H2
03/08/2008Conference report agreed to by House (99-Y 1-N)
03/08/2008VOTE: --- ADOPTION (99-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
03/08/2008Reading of conference report waived
03/08/2008Conference report agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N)
03/24/2008Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB760ER)
03/24/2008Signed by Speaker
03/26/2008Signed by President
04/01/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB760ER)
04/11/2008G Approved by Governor-Chapter 821 (effective - see bill)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: SB687.


Alison Hymes writes:

Great, but also ban the use of the term "behavioral health" instead of mental health or psychiatry throughout the code of Virginia while we're at it. Behavioral health is an extremely offensive and backwards term for mental health.

Timothy Watson writes:

Wow, the state doesn't have the money for Commonwealth's Attorneys' offices to be converted to full-time but they can spend $75,000 for this stupidity?

These legislators are "mentally retarded" and/or "intellectually disabled".

What next? Removing any reference to the "criminal" code or to "crimes"?

Alison Hymes writes:

Nice, comparing people with disabilities to criminals.

Tim McCormack writes:

I can't support this. "Mental retardation" is perfectly descriptive, and "intellectually disabled" is too PC for my tastes.

Alison Hymes writes:

What does PC even mean in this context Tim McCormack? And of course it's all about what is to your taste and not about the wishes of people who actually have intellectual disabilities and their families. So you won't mind if I call you George will you? George is a name more to my taste than Tim.

Tim McCormack writes:

What's in a name, Alison? We both agree that names and labels are important, and important to get right. Calling something what it ain't just leads to trouble.

"Mental retardation" means that an individual's central nervous system is, in some aspect or many, operating at reduced or deleteriously altered capacity.

What does "intellectual disability" mean? Surely not the same thing. Could it refer to someone who cannot follow a logical argument against one of their articles of faith? I would say so. And yet that's *certainly* not mental retardation.

My intent is not to diminish, brush aside, or avoid the issue. I just want to make sure that the language is reasonable.

Alison Hymes writes:

Actually, developmental disability has been the term in use for many years in the field, not mental retardation but Virginia never caught up with that either. Mental retardation doesn't really mean anything. There are many causes of intellectual disabilities as meant in this statute, including chromosonal, unknown origin at birth, some forms of severe autism, brain damage at birth due to lack of oxygen, fragile X syndrome and on and on. Mental retardation has become a term that is used to insult people and is not in line with the terms used for other people with disabilities. Just as we don't have a department of Mental Health and Drunkeness, we shouldn't have a department of mental health and mental retardation.

The language is reasonable because it is accepted and wanted by the members of the community it applies to and by their family members and by their allies. Of course some people will use the term perjoratively and inappropriately just as some people will call politicians they disagree with mentally ill, but that is no reason for the state of Virginia not to catch up with the times.

Timothy Watson writes:

Alison, you bloody well know what I meant by that statement.

This bill is nothing but a check for $75,000 to make the bill sponsors and supporters feel good. They can say, "We care and you don't!"

Instead of spending $75,000 on something useful like additional funding for treatment and support for persons with mental retardation, they want to use it to change the wording on figureheads and in the Code of Virginia.

How exactly does that help persons with mental retardation and their families? Is it going to change how the family feels? Does it change the circumstances that the family is in?

Alison Hymes writes:

People with intellectual disabilities and their families asked for this bill because they said it will make them feel better. I take their word for it.

But at the last minute, the bill was amended to require it to be passed again next year in order to go into effect, so you win for this year. George :).