Gov. Shumlin Signs Bill Changing Offensive Phrases in Vermont Laws

By Joe Gullo , Kristen Tripodi

Published 03/21 2014 05:40PM

Updated 03/21 2014 06:29PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. - In Vermont, you must use respectful language when referring to people with disabilities.

The bill replaces or changes phrases in Vermont law, that are offensive. 

You should introduce the person first instead of the disability. For example, developmentally disabled persons was replaced with persons with developmental disabilities.

Several advocacy groups worked with lawmakers to find and suggest replacements. The changes might be small, but supportors say they hope it will help reverse stereotypes.

"This won't change demeaning language used on the street, but our hope is for people to really get the message that words hurt," Max Barrows, Green Mountain Self-Advocates, said. 

Governor Shumlin signed the law on Friday at the statehouse. It takes effect on July 1st. 

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