DENVER-- "Illegitimate" children, "married women," and the "mentally retarded" all have specific mentions in the state laws of Colorado-- for now.
A slate of bills to modernize the language of those laws will be heard for the first time Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It's purely a matter of language. The nonpartisan staff for the legislature reports that none of the updated language will change the way the state conducts business or cost taxpayers any money.
In the case of the bill ending the use of the terms "illegitimate" or "child born out of wedlock," the legislature's staff reports that there would be no practical change at all because "under current law, Colorado recognizes that a parent and child relationship extends equally regardless of marital status."
That bill scrubs some 16 references to "illegitimate" in state law dealing with health insurance, adoption, and genetic testing.
Another bill would change a whole part of state law titled the "rights of married women" to the "rights of married persons" instead. The legislature's analysts report that these laws already apply to "spouses" regardless of gender.
The bill to end the use of the term "mental retardation" in state laws uses a slightly wordier replacement of "intellectual and developmental disability," a change that was adopted by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013 and is already being used in practice by state agencies.
All three bills have sponsors from both major political parties and are scheduled to get their first public hearings at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday in the Colorado State Capitol.