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Proposed state Constitutional amendment would update the names of three ND institutions

The Legislature has passed a proposed state Constitutional amendment that would change and update the names of three state institutions.

If passed by the voters, the state School for the Deaf and Dumb in Devils Lake will become "The State School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing." The State Hospital for the Insane in Jamestown would become "The State Hospital for the Care of Individuals with Mental Illness." And the Institution for the Feeble-Minded in Grafton would be renamed "A facility for individuals with developmental disabilities."

Rep. Kathy Frelich (R-Devils Lake) carried the bill on the House floor. She works at the School for the Deaf. And she told her colleagues she's related to Phyllis Frelich, a Tony award winning actress, and the first deaf actress to win that award. Frelich said Phyllis had eight siblings — and all were born deaf. She said all of them went on to be successful.

"At one time, 'dumb' may have referred to someone who was mute," Frelich said. "But this is not what we think of now when we use that term."

Frelich said most people who are deaf are not mute. She said they have not yet developed speech.

"It is a very difficult task to learn, when you cannot hear," Frelich said.

The bill passed the House unanimously.

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