The Senate late Wednesday quietly passed a bill to remove the word “lunatic” from anywhere in the federal code, with lawmakers arguing it perpetuates a stigma attached to mental illness.
“Lunatic” appears in several places in federal law, particularly in language dealing with inheritances.
At one point the code actually identifies what the word means for purposes of the law: “the words ‘insane’ and ‘insane person’ and ‘lunatic’ shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis,” the last meaning “not of sound mind.”
The bipartisan bill passed without objection. It still needs House action to become law.