Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoPrivate insurance plays a critical part in home mortgage ecosystem On The Money: Lawmakers race to pass border deal | Trump rips 'stingy' Democrats, but says shutdown would be 'terrible' | Battle over contractor back pay | Banking panel kicks off data security talks Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers press officials on 2020 election security | T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend merger before Congress | Officials charge alleged Iranian spy | Senate panel kicks off talks on data security bill MORE (R-Idaho) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would remove all references to the word "lunatic" from federal law, a step they said is needed to reflect the country's modern understanding of mental-health conditions.

Conrad said that by eliminating "lunatic" from federal law, the 21st Century Language Act, S. 2367, would help reduce the stigmatization of such conditions.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Recently, a North Dakota constituent contacted my office to express support for legislative efforts to remove this outdated and inappropriate language from federal law," Conrad said Wednesday. "Sen. Crapo and I agree that federal law should reflect the 21st-century understanding of mental illness and disease, and that the continued use of this pejorative term has no place in the U.S. Code."

The word "lunatic" appears in at least one spot in the U.S. Code — in Title 1, Chapter 1, which covers rules of construction. Chapter 1 holds that when determining the meaning of any law, "the words 'insane' and 'insane person' and 'lunatic' shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis."

Conrad said he and Crapo have worked with the Senate Banking Committee to confirm that eliminating the term "lunatic" would have no impact on federal law, and is supported by many mental-health advocates.

Earlier this month, dozens of groups praised Conrad for proposing the legislation, and said the use of the word in some parts of the U.S. Code serves to "perpetrate this stigmatization" caused by using the "outdated and offensive" term.


More from The Hill:
BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word Left flexes muscle in immigration talks MORE-wants-white-house-to-reimburse-taxpayers-for-campaign-costs" mce_href="http://thehill.com/homenews/house/223975-boehner-wants-white-house-to-reimburse-taxpayers-for-campaign-costs"> ♦ Boehner: Obama should pay taxpayers for campaign costs
♦ White House: No evidence attack planned to mark bin Laden anniversary
♦ Biden: Obama has 'big stick,' Romney doesn't
♦ Boehner: Obama wants government to 'control the Internet'
♦ EPA official apologizes after comparing his work to crucifixion
Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanUnscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration MORE defends budget to Catholics
♦ Sebelius signals 'doom' if healthcare funds cut for student loan benefit