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Congress Erases ‘Lunatic,’ Keeps ’Idiot’ in Federal Law

The U.S. House voted to remove the term “lunatic” from sections of federal law, while the word “idiot” would remain.

The bill, which passed 398-1, would amend a section of the U.S. Code that defines the meanings of certain words used in acts of Congress. Making the change would eliminate “references that contribute to the stigmatization of mental health conditions,” according to an April 25 statement by the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.