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Illinois governor signs bill making official titles more gender inclusive

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday signed a bill to change “alderman,” a word for elected district officials in the state, to “alderperson.”

The Democratic legislation first introduced in February primarily amends the state’s election code to delay the 2022 Illinois primary until June.

Provisions mentioned toward the end of the bill, however, include the change from “alderman” to “alderperson” and “congressman” to “congressperson.”

“We see a lot of ‘hes’ and ‘hims’” in state statute, said Democratic state Rep. Maurice West, who co-sponsored the bill with Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, said early this month, according to WTTW, a Chicago-based PBS affiliate.

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West continued: “And now we have, you know, not just women in office, but we have people who may not identify with any gender. We want to make sure that our voting and our election cycle process is inclusive for everyone.”

Efforts to make legislative language more gender-inclusive have also appeared at the national level.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced new congressional rules in January that included language to strip all mention of gender-specific pronouns and terms such as “man,” “woman,” “mother” and “son.”

The new rules for the 117th Congress also allowed proxy voting to continue during the coronavirus pandemic, banned lawmakers convicted of certain crimes from visiting the House floor again, and changed payment rules on legislation related to the virus and climate change that previously required lawmakers to identify new revenue sources or spending cuts to fund their priorities. 

Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.

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