Mach bill would remove the words handicapped and disabled from state statutes
‘Persons with disabilities’ would replace archaic terms
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Stefanie Mach, D-Tucson (District 10), is trying to change the way the state addresses people with disabilities. Mach introduced a bill, HB 2667, that would remove the words handicapped and disabled from state laws and from any new signs that indicate parking for people with disabilities.
“These terms do not accurately reflect the people in our community,” Mach said. “Our laws should use language that illustrates the respect we have for everyone in our state. 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.”
Mach survived a car accident in 1997 which knocked down an electrical line and shocked her, causing her to lose her arm. She said as a person with a disability she understands the effect of dehumanizing words on a person or a group of people.
“I don’t want to talk about my disabilities first. I am a complete person and would like to be recognized as such,” she said. “I started working on this legislation after hearing that many people in the disabilities community feel the same way. This is important to them and important to me. So we are starting with an effort to promote inclusion and raise awareness, while ending the use of inappropriate, out-of-date terminology in our statutes.”