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Interim Legislative committee recommends language change in the state Constitution

An interim Legislative committee has approved a proposed state Constitutional amendment, to change some language in sections 12 and 13 of Article 9.

It involves the descriptions of three state facilities. And it would clean up some old language.

The school for the deaf in Devils Lake would be changed from “the school for the deaf and dumb” to “the school for the deaf and hearing impaired.” The state hospital in Jamestown’s description would change from a “state hospital for the insane” to “a state hospital for individuals with mental illness.” And in Grafton, it would change from an “institution for the feebleminded” to “a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.”

"Some of the language that was used in the past is inappropriate today," said Rep. Jon Nelson (R-Rugby), the chairman of the interim Acute Psychiatric Treatment Committee. "It's more of less just a clean-up of the terms that are used in the disability community that have changed in the past."

Nelson said there are no substantive changes.

Nelson saids his committee voted unanimously for the proposed amendment.

If the 2023 Legislature approves, it would be on the ballot in 2024.

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