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Public Statements

21st Century Language Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Unknown


Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, the 21st Century Language Act is a relatively simple bill. It strikes the word ``lunatic'' from the United States Code.

The term ``lunatic'' derives from the Latin word for ``moon.'' Before the modern era, it was used to describe a person who suffers from mental disease because of the belief that lunar cycles had an impact on brain function. But as science and medicine have progressed, society has come to understand mental illness with more clarity.

Senator Conrad and Senator Crapo introduced the legislation under consideration to strike the word ``lunatic'' from the United States Code. I thank them for their effort, and I encourage my colleagues to join me in support of this bill to modernize our codified law to reflect a 21st-century understanding of mental illness.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.


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