As in past bills on the issue that have tackled sections of the state code, some revisions were as simple as adding "or her" after "his." Others required a little more scrutiny. Phrases like "man's past" changes to "humankind's past" and a "prudent man or woman" is simply a "prudent person."
Kyle Thiessen, the state's code reviser who has been working on the project along with two attorneys since 2008, said that the work was not without obstacles.
Words like "manhole" and "manlock" aren't so easily replaced, he said. Substitutes have been suggested — "utility hole" and "air lock serving as a decompression chamber for workers." But Thiessen said those references will be left alone to avoid confusion.
Republican state Rep. Shelly Short, of Addy, has voted against earlier gender-neutral language bills and said she plans to do the same this year.
"I don't see the need to do gender neutrality," she said, adding that her constituents want her to focus on jobs and the economy. "We're women and we're men."
Kohl-Welles, who has sponsored each of the gender-neutral language bills, said that while this project hasn't been her top legislation every year, "overall, it has important significance."
"I believe," she said, "that the culture has changed."
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