Below is a copy of S. 2781, Rosa’s Law. Although this new law does not
change any services for person’s with disabilities, it still represents a
historic change for national disability policy.
 
From now on, the phrase “mental retardation” will no longer be a part
of any federal rule or law, whether it is related to education, health
or labor. It will be replaced with the phrase “intellectual disabilities” everywhere it currently appears.
 

Memo from The Family Cafe regarding passage of Rosa’s Law

 
We are contacting you today to let you know that President Obama has
signed S. 2781, Rosa’s Law. Although this new law does not change any
services for person’s with disabilities, it still represents a
historic change for national disability policy.
 
From now on, the phrase “mental retardation” will no longer be a part
of any federal rule or law, whether it is related to education, health
or labor. It will be replaced with the phrase “intellectual
disabilities” everywhere it currently appears.
 
This bill was originally introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).
She named the bill “Rosa’s Law” after a young woman in her state that
successfully advocated for the elimination of the phrase “mentally
retarded” in Maryland state law.
 
You can read the full text of this new law at the Library of Congress
(The final version is the last one listed.) There is also a statement
on Senator Mikulski’s web site here
.
This is an important milestone on the road to inclusion and acceptance
for Americans with disabilities. Please join us in celebrating this
moment, and feel free to share this message with others in your
community.
 
Yours,
The Family Cafe
S. 2781

One Hundred Eleventh Congress

of the

United States of America

AT THE SECOND SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,

the fifth day of January, two thousand and ten

An Act

To change references in Federal law to mental retardation to references to an

intellectual disability, and change references to a mentally retarded individual

to references to an individual with an intellectual disability.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of

the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as ‘‘Rosa’s Law’’.

SEC. 2. INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES.

(a) H

IGHER EDUCATION ACT OF  

NDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT 

LEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT OF  

EHABILITATION ACT OF  

EALTH RESEARCH AND HEALTH SERVICES A 

 

UBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT 

‘‘SEC. 450. RESEARCH ON INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES.

‘‘The Director of the Institute shall conduct and support

research and related activities into the causes, prevention, and

treatment of intellectual disabilities.’’.

(4) Section 641(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 291k(a)) is

amended by striking ‘‘matters relating to the mentally retarded’’

and inserting ‘‘matters relating to individuals with intellectual

disabilities’’.

(5) Section 753(b)(2)(E) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 294c(b)(2)(E))

is amended by striking ‘‘elderly mentally retarded individuals’’

and inserting ‘‘elderly individuals with intellectual disabilities’’.

(6) Section 1252(f)(3)(E) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 300d–

52(f)(3)(E)) is amended by striking ‘‘mental retardation/developmental

disorders,’’ and inserting ‘‘intellectual disabilities or

developmental disorders,’’.

(g) H

EALTH PROFESSIONS EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPS A 

1998.—Section 419(b)(1) of the Health Professions Education Partnerships

Act of 1998 (42 U.S.C. 280f note) is amended by striking

‘‘mental retardation’’ and inserting ‘‘intellectual disabilities’’.

(h) P

UBLIC LAW  

ATIONAL SICKLE CELL ANEMIA, COOLEYS ANEMIA, TAYSACHS 

AND

GENETIC DISEASES ACT 

ENETIC INFORMATION NONDISCRIMINATION ACT OF  

EFERENCES

 

SEC. 3. REGULATIONS.

For purposes of regulations issued to carry out a provision

amended by this Act—

(1) before the regulations are amended to carry out this

Act—

(A) a reference in the regulations to mental retardation

shall be considered to be a reference to an intellectual

disability; and

(B) a reference in the regulations to the mentally

retarded, or individuals who are mentally retarded, shall

be considered to be a reference to individuals with intellectual

disabilities; and

(2) in amending the regulations to carry out this Act,

a Federal agency shall ensure that the regulations clearly

state—

(A) that an intellectual disability was formerly termed

mental retardation; and

(B) that individuals with intellectual disabilities were

formerly termed individuals who are mentally retarded.

SEC. 4. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

This Act shall be construed to make amendments to provisions

of Federal law to substitute the term ‘‘an intellectual disability’’

for ‘‘mental retardation’’, and ‘‘individuals with intellectual disabilities’’

for ‘‘the mentally retarded’’ or ‘‘individuals who are mentally

retarded’’, without any intent to—

(1) change the coverage, eligibility, rights, responsibilities,

or definitions referred to in the amended provisions; or

(2) compel States to change terminology in State laws

for individuals covered by a provision amended by this Act.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.

.—For purposes of each provision amended by 

this section—

(1) a reference to ‘‘an intellectual disability’’ shall mean

a condition previously referred to as ‘‘mental retardation’’, or

a variation of this term, and shall have the same meaning

with respect to programs, or qualifications for programs, for

individuals with such a condition; and

(2) a reference to individuals with intellectual disabilities

shall mean individuals who were previously referred to as

individuals who are ‘‘individuals with mental retardation’’ or

‘‘the mentally retarded’’, or variations of those terms.

S. 2781—3

2008.— 

Section 2(2) of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of

2008 (42 U.S.C. 2000ff note) is amended by striking ‘‘mental

retardation,’’ and inserting ‘‘intellectual disabilities,’’.

(k) R

.—Section 402 of the National 

Sickle Cell Anemia, Cooley’s Anemia, Tay-Sachs, and Genetic Diseases

Act (42 U.S.C. 300b–1 note) is amended by striking ‘‘leading

to mental retardation’’ and inserting ‘‘leading to intellectual disabilities’’.

(j) G

,

110–154.—Section 1(a)(2)(B) of Public Law 

110–154 (42 U.S.C. 285g note) is amended by striking ‘‘mental

retardation’’ and inserting ‘‘intellectual disabilities’’.

(i) N

CT OF

.— 

(1) Section 317C(a)(4)(B)(i) of the Public Health Service

Act (42 U.S.C. 247b–4(a)(4)(B)(i)) is amended by striking

‘‘mental retardation;’’ and inserting ‘‘intellectual disabilities;’’.

(2) Section 448 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 285g) is amended

by striking ‘‘mental retardation,’’ and inserting ‘‘intellectual

disabilities,’’.

(3) Section 450 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 285g–2) is amended

to read as follows:

1976.—Section 1001 of the Health Research and Health Services 

S. 2781—2

Amendments of 1976 (42 U.S.C. 217a–1) is amended by striking

‘‘the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health

Centers Construction Act of 1963,’’.

(f) P

MENDMENTSOF

 

1973.— 

(1) Section 7(21)(A)(iii) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

(29 U.S.C. 705(21)(A)(iii)) is amended by striking ‘‘mental

retardation,’’ and inserting ‘‘intellectual disability,’’.

(2) Section 204(b)(2)(C)(vi) of such Act (29 U.S.C.

764(b)(2)(C)(vi)) is amended by striking ‘‘mental retardation

and other developmental disabilities’’ and inserting ‘‘intellectual

disabilities and other developmental disabilities’’.

(3) Section 501(a) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 791(a)) is amended,

in the third sentence, by striking ‘‘President’s Committees on

Employment of People With Disabilities and on Mental

Retardation’’ and inserting ‘‘President’s Disability Employment

Partnership Board and the President’s Committee for People

with Intellectual Disabilities’’.

(e) H

1965.— 

Section 7202(16)(E) of the Elementary and Secondary Education

Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7512(16)(E)) is amended by striking ‘‘mild

mental retardation,’’ and inserting ‘‘mild intellectual disabilities,’’.

(d) R

.— 

(1) Section 601(c)(12)(C) of the Individuals with Disabilities

Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400(c)(12)(C)) is amended by striking

‘‘having mental retardation’’ and inserting ‘‘having intellectual

disabilities’’.

(2) Section 602 of such Act (20 U.S.C. 1401) is amended—

(A) in paragraph (3)(A)(i), by striking ‘‘with mental

retardation’’ and inserting ‘‘with intellectual disabilities’’;

and

(B) in paragraph (30)(C), by striking ‘‘of mental

retardation’’ and inserting ‘‘of intellectual disabilities’’.

(c) E

1965.—Section 760(2)(A) of the 

Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1140(2)(A)) is amended

by striking ‘‘mental retardation or’’.

(b) I

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