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article imageCongress says 'lunatic' must go

By Brandi Fleeks     Dec 6, 2012 in Politics
Washington - Congress voted to remove the term lunatic from federal law, making it more sensitive to people with mental health disorders.
New legislation striking the word “lunatic” from federal law is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk for a signature.
The Senate-approved bill passed the House of Representatives Wednesday one vote shy of unanimity.
The bill, spearheaded by Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Republican Senator Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, is one among several efforts to remove language that is antiquated or considered demeaning.
“The term ‘lunatic’ holds a place in antiquity and should no longer have a prominent place in our U.S. code,” said Democratic Representative Robert C. Scott of Virginia before the House Vote.
The word lunatic stems from the word luna, Latin for moon, and the belief that the moon’s phases affected a person’s mental health.
Congress drafted the 21st Century Language Act of 2012 in May, citing Section 1 of title 1, United States Code to exclude the word “lunatic.”
One federal law statute reads “the words "insane" and "insane person" and "lunatic" shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis.” The new legislation will remove one word while leaving the term “idiot” intact.
The bill passed in a 398 to 1 vote, with the only no coming from Republican Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas who said, “Not only should we not eliminate the word ‘lunatic’ from federal law when the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy, we should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington.”
More about Congress, House of Representatives, Senate, US federal law, Kent Conrad
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