Senators want to rid federal law of the word "lunatic"

Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Mike Crapo (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.

“Recently, a North Dakota constituent contacted my office to express support for legislative efforts to remove this outdated and inappropriate language from federal law,” Conrad said Wednesday.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.”