Brown approves changes to mental health references

Governor Jerry Brown
Governor Jerry Brown
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Updated: 7/18/2014 1:29 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that deletes from most California laws outdated terms once used to describe mental health conditions.

AB1847 by Democratic Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro of Arcata replaces references to insane, mentally disordered or defective persons with references to mental health disorders, intellectual disability or developmental disability.

Chesbro says using such outdated terms increases the stigma against people who suffer from mental health issues and puts the focus on the disability rather than the person. Previous legislation already replaced references to imbeciles and lunatics in state laws.

The legislation Brown announced signing Friday does not apply to penal codes used in legal proceedings. Terms such as insane have specific meanings in criminal law and are used in determining sentences.

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