• Spread the word to end the word
  • Alzheimer’s Association’s Day at the Capitol

Spread the word to end the word

This week the Senate committee on Health and Human Services held a hearing on AB 20/SB 19, which I authored. The bill eliminates the phrases “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from administrative code. A measure to eliminate these terms from Wisconsin state statute was passed in 2011, but these phrases appear more than 80 times in administrative code.

These phrases were first used by medical professionals to describe a variety of issues from neurocognitive delays, to autism, to dyslexia and more. Since then our science has evolved and medical professionals use more precise language. But the “r-word” remained and evolved to become an insult.

The word is outdated, it has been steeped with negative meaning for those in the disability rights community, and it has no place in our state code. I am thankful to the Senate Committee for hearing my bill and helping it advance to the next stage of passage.

A hearing in the Assembly will take place on March 13th, at 1:00 PM. If this issue is as near to your heart as it is to mine, please contact my office if you are able and willing to testify.

While admittedly this isn’t the most pressing issue, it is important to a lot of families. Check out this story from WISC-TV.



Alzheimer’s Association

Thank you to the local constituents who stopped by as part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Day at the Capitol. Two sessions ago I served on the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia and this issue has continued to be a priority. I am proud to represent Watertown, which aims to be a dementia friendly city, where business owners and residents are trained on how to assist those with memory loss, so they can remain independent as long as possible. To read more about their efforts you can find the Watertown Dementia Awareness Coalition on Facebook.