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The Latest: Evers issues anti-discrimination order

January 7, 2019
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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers addresses the audience after Evers was sworn in during the inauguration ceremony at the state Capitol Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on Wisconsin inauguration (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Gov. Tony Evers has signed an executive order requiring state agencies to develop and implement policies preventing discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The move Monday on his first day in office was praised by Fair Wisconsin director Megin McDonell who said it “modernizes our state’s internal policies to make sure Wisconsin government employees are judged solely on their job performance, not who they are or who they love.”

The Evers administration will also create a model anti-discrimination policy.

Evers is also calling for the state to put standard terms in contracts saying that the recipient can only hire on the basis of merit and they can’t discriminate.

Another order Evers signed calls for state agency leaders to “recognize the valuable contributions of state employees, promote positive morale and foster a collaborative work environment.”

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3:55 p.m.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is using his first speech of the new legislative session to emphasize lawmakers are the most important branch of government.

Republicans control both the Assembly and the Senate but look destined to lock horns with new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers heading into the session.

Vos told the Assembly following inaugurations Monday that the Wisconsin Constitution lists the Legislature first among the three branches of government.

He says some may want the Legislature to “veer into the left lane” since Evers is now the governor but Republicans won’t let government expand at the expense of the people’s freedoms. He told his fellow Republicans that compromise doesn’t mean compromising your ideals.

He also told Democrats to end their “excessive outrage.”

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This item has been updated to correct “ideas” to “ideals.”

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3:35 p.m.

Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he’s warning fellow Republicans to think twice before bringing forward bills Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is certain to oppose.

Fitzgerald told reporters Monday that includes measures focused on restricting abortions and “some Second Amendment stuff.”

Fitzgerald says he doesn’t agree with Evers on the need to increase the minimum wage

Fitzgerald says he’s warning Republicans who have never lived under divided government to be prepared for the process slowing down as they calculate which issues can win approval from Evers.

Still, Fitzgerald called for bipartisanship during a Senate floor speech following inauguration. He says, “let us be united by our shared vision to make Wisconsin a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

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3:15 p.m.

A state Supreme Court justice is swearing in the state Assembly for the next two-year legislative session.

Justice Annette Ziegler led the 99 members through an en masse oath during inauguration ceremonies in the Assembly chambers on Monday.

Republicans hold a 63-36 majority. Eight Republican lawmakers and seven Democrats are new to the body.

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2:35 p.m.

Four new members of the Wisconsin state Senate have been sworn into office.

Those four new members, along with 13 other incumbents who won re-election, were inaugurated Monday. The ceremony came after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and other constitutional officers were sworn in.

The four new members of the state Senate are Republicans Andre Jacque, Dale Kooyenga and Kathy Bernier and Democrat Jeff Smith. All three Republicans are coming straight from the state Assembly.

Smith also previously served in the Assembly beween 2007 and 2011. He replaces Kathleen Vinehout, who gave up her seat to run for governor.

Republicans hold a 19-14 majority in the Senate. They also have a 63-36 majority in the Assembly, setting up divided government with Evers as governor.

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1:05 p.m.

Newly sworn-in Gov. Tony Evers is calling for a rejection of “the tired politics of the past” in his first speech as Wisconsin governor, saying “we’ve become content with division.”

Evers delivered his inauguration speech Monday at a packed Capitol rotunda ceremony attended by five former governors and other dignitaries.

Evers says the people of Wisconsin have gotten away from the values like kindness, respect, and civility. He is calling for Republicans and Democrats to work together to solve problems.

Evers emphasized his campaign priorities. He is calling for fully funding public schools “at every level” from pre-kindergarten through college. Evers also called for making sure health care is affordable and accessible and improving the conditions of Wisconsin’s roads.

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12:55 p.m.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is the first African American to be elected lieutenant governor and only the second black person to serve in a constitutional office.

Barnes was sworn into office Monday.

He says, “the gravity of this moment is not lost on me as we strive for equity.” Barnes also noted that he follows Vel Phillips, the only other African American to serve in a statewide office. She served one term as secretary of state in the 1970s.

Barnes says as lieutenant governor he will work for equity and to increase opportunity across the state.

Barnes, who is from Milwaukee, says “A person’s zip code should never determine their destiny in the state of Wisconsin.”

Barnes says he and Evers will “usher in an era of greatness.”

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12:50 p.m.

Tony Evers has been sworn into office as Wisconsin’s 46th governor.

Evers took the oath of office Monday from Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Pat Roggensack.

Five former governors, including Scott Walker, and a host of other dignitaries attended the public ceremony in the rotunda of the state Capitol.

Four other Democrats elected into statewide constitutional offices were also sworn in. They are Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Secretary of State Doug La Follette, and Treasurer Sarah Godlewski.

State lawmakers were to be sworn into office Monday afternoon prior to an inaugural ball in Madison.

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12:45 p.m.

New Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul is criticizing Republican lawmakers in his inauguration speech.

Kaul took the oath of office Monday along with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers during a ceremony in a packed state Capitol rotunda.

Kaul delivered a short speech, ripping Republican legislators for passing lame-duck legislation in December that weakened both his and Evers’ offices.

Kaul said such a move was unprecedented and was designed to hinder both him and Evers. He warned Republicans the state Justice Department’s priorities will still shift during his tenure with a sharper focus on environmental and consumer protection.

The lame-duck measures eliminated the attorney general’s solicitor general office, allows lawmakers to intervene in lawsuits and requires Kaul to seek approval from lawmakers before reaching settlements.

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11:50 a.m.

Five former Wisconsin governors, both U.S. senators, members of Congress and others are attending the inauguration ceremony for new Gov. Tony Evers.

The dignitaries are among those who attended the ceremony Monday in the state Capitol rotunda.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin was seated next to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. They were seen talking to one another before the swearing-in ceremony began.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who is battling cancer, attended in a wheel chair. Chief Justice Pat Roggensack was to deliver the oath of office.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, numbers state lawmakers, U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore were among other notables at the event.

The former governors are Scott Walker, Jim Doyle, Scott McCallum, Tommy Thompson and Martin Schreiber.

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8:07 a.m.

Five former Wisconsin governors plan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Tony Evers.

The former governors are among the dignitaries expected to attend the Monday inauguration of Evers and other state officials elected in November.

The former governors slated to attend are Scott Walker, Jim Doyle, Scott McCallum, Tommy Thompson and Martin Schreiber. The only living governor not scheduled to attend is Tony Earl.

Evers is to take the oath of office from Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Pat Roggensack. All other statewide constitutional officers, along with newly elected members of the Legislature, are also getting sworn in.

An inaugural ball follows the official events Monday night in Madison.

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10:47 p.m.

Democrat Tony Evers is set to take the oath of office and replace Gov. Scott Walker during a noon ceremony Monday at the state Capitol, ending eight years of Republican dominance in Wisconsin.

Evers’ inauguration will herald a new era of Wisconsin politics. While Republicans will maintain control of the Legislature, having Evers in place will give Democrats the power to block GOP bills and force either compromise or gridlock.

Evers has been the state education superintendent since 2009 and is a former teacher and school principal. He was to be sworn into office along with other constitutional officers and state lawmakers. Walker and other former governors are expected to be among the dignitaries in attendance.

An inaugural ball in Madison was scheduled for Monday night.

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