"There are words and words matter," said Lincoln Senator Colby Coash as he addressed the crowd at a rally in front of the state capitol Wednesday afternoon.
"For what we do in the legislature, we live and die by the words we use. The words we put in our statutes and words we say can hurt. If you've ever been on the other end of a word that hurts, you understand that even more."
This is the idea behind Coash's Legislative Bill 343 which would remove from statutes the term "mental retardation" and replaced it with "intellectual disability."
It's a change that 32 other states have made in the past few years.
"I've been called it when I was in high school, so I wanted to make people aware of it and of people using the "R" word in our daily language," said Haley Waggoner, who organized the rally that attracted nearly 200 people. "It's a word that we need to get rid of. There are many other words we can use so I want today, I'm trying to make people aware of it and pledge so they will not use the "R" word."
The Health and Human Services Committee is expected to send the bill to general file during an executive session scheduled for Wednesday evening.