Washington state removes "gender bias" in statutes

Posted in the Columbus Forum

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1 - 6 of 6 Comments Last updated Apr 23, 2013

Since: Apr 13

Hilliard, OH

#1 Apr 23, 2013
Washington state removes gender bias in statutes

SEATTLE - Washington state’s governor signed into law on Monday the final piece of a six-year effort to rewrite state laws using gender-neutral vocabulary, replacing terms such as “fisherman” and “freshman” with “fisher” and “first-year student.”

Lawmakers have passed a series of bills since 2007 to root out gender bias from Washington statutes, though a 1983 state mandate required that all laws be written in gender-neutral terms unless a specification of gender was intended.

“This was a much larger effort than I had envisioned. Mankind means man and woman,” said Democratic state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle.

The new gender-neutral references, for example, include “journey-level plumber” instead of “journeyman plumber,”“handwriting” in place of “penmanship,” and “signal operator” for “signalman.”

“There’s no good reason for keeping our legal terms anachronistic and with words that do not respect our current contemporary times,” Kohl-Welles, the 475-page bill’s sponsor, told Reuters.

Several words, however, aren’t easy to replace, said Kyle Thiessen, the state’s code reviser, who heads up the 40-staff Washington Code Reviser’s Office agency.

The state likely won’t change the words “airmen” and “seaman,” for example, because of objections by the state’s Washington Military Department, he said.

Civil engineering terms such as “man hole” and “man lock,” also will not be changed because no common-sense substitutes could easily be found, Thiessen said.

Nearly 3,500 Washington state code sections, out of a total of about 40,000 have been tediously scrubbed of gender bias, although most involve adding pronouns “she” and “her” to augment the existing “he” and “his,” Thiessen said.

The bill passed the Democrat-controlled state House 70-22 on April 9 and unanimously cleared the state Senate on Feb. 8 before being signed by Democratic Governor Jay Inslee.

Washington state is the nation’s fourth to boast of eliminating gender bias from its official lexicon, following in the footsteps of Florida, North Carolina and Illinois, Kohl-Welles said.

Other states that have passed gender-neutral constitutional mandates include California, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah, Kohl-Welles said. At least nine other states are currently considering gender-neutral legislation, she said.

“Words matter,” said Liz Watson, a National Women’s Law Center senior adviser.“This is important in changing hearts and minds.”
http://www.torontosun.com/2013/04/23/penmansh...

Since: Apr 13

Hilliard, OH

#2 Apr 23, 2013
Another broad with a hyphenated surname...imagine that.

Since: Apr 13

Hilliard, OH

#3 Apr 23, 2013

“animis opibusque parati”

Since: Oct 12

Location hidden

#4 Apr 23, 2013
Taxpayer dollars hard at work.
Keep saving for that rainy-day fund, Glitter.
youll sink like a stone

Reynoldsburg, OH

#5 Apr 23, 2013
The Times They Are A-Changin'- Bob Dylan

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Since: Jan 13

Returning with a vengeance

#6 Apr 23, 2013
Idiots, bring on the Cascadia subduction earthquake.

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