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Congress votes to remove word ‘lunatic’ from law

WASHINGTON — You can say “lunatic” all you want, but you probably won’t have the government’s blessing.

‘That word will be stricken from federal law under legislation that passed the House Wednesday and is headed to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The congressional action is the latest effort to remove language from the U.S. code that has become outdated or demeaning. Two years ago Congress took out references in federal law to the term “mental retardation.”

The legislation cites one instance in banking regulation that refers to the authority of a bank to act as “committee of estates of lunatics” on guardianship issues.

The measure passed in the Senate in May. Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad, a sponsor, says continued use of the pejorative term has no place in federal law.