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A California lawmaker is determined to rid the state of mental retardation -- in its law books.

Dozens of references to "mentally retarded" or "mental retardation" would be wiped off state statutes under legislation by Republican Assemblyman Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa.

"This is not an acceptable way to refer to people with intellectual disabilities," said Saulo Londoño, Mansoor's spokesman.

"People already have an awareness of other slurs that are used, but this is one that kind of flies under the radar, in our opinion," Londoño said.

Assembly Bill 2370 would replace mentally retarded with the term "intellectually disabled," and it would replace mental retardation with "intellectual disability."

Two organizations serving people with disabilities, Best Buddies California and Special Olympics International, are spearheading a national campaign to discourage use of the word "retarded."

Londoño said he knows of no opposition to the measure, which was proposed last Friday. No public hearing has yet been scheduled.

Nearly five years ago, the state adopted legislation similar to Mansoor's that erased from California statutes three other words deemed offensive by many --"idiot," "lunatic" and "imbecile."

"Government officials are supposed to be leaders, and they're supposed to lead by example with these kinds of things," Londoño said.


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