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The Latest: Legislature drops ‘mental retardation’ term

April 9, 2019

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on a bill that would remove the term “mental retardation” from five state agencies’ administrative codes (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

The Legislature is signing off on bill that would remove the term “mental retardation” from five state agencies’ administrative codes even though Democratic Gov. Tony Evers ordered the deletion weeks ago.

The Senate approved the bill on a voice vote Tuesday morning. The Assembly followed suit with another voice vote Tuesday afternoon.

Evers angered the bill’s Republican authors in March when he issued an executive order requiring all state agencies to remove “mental retardation” from their regulations, largely negating the need for the bill.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke on Tuesday released copies of emails he obtained from Evers’ office through an open records request that show Evers’ staff began contemplating the order hours after Republicans introduced the bill in January and were trying to coordinate when Evers should issue the order so he wouldn’t “get jacked” by the Republican bill.

Evers said Tuesday he’ll sign the bill. He said he felt he had to move quickly and wasn’t trying to one-up Republicans.

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11:35 a.m.

The Wisconsin Senate has passed a bill that would remove the term “mental retardation” from five state agencies’ administrative codes, even though Democratic Gov. Tony Evers ordered the deletion weeks ago.

The bill approved by the Senate on a voice vote Tuesday calls for replacing the term and derivatives with “intellectual disability” in regulations governing the agencies.

Evers angered the bill’s Republican authors in March when he issued an executive order requiring all state agencies to remove “mental retardation” from their regulations, largely negating the need for the bill.

But its supporters say banning it in law is stronger than an executive order, which a future governor could undo.

The Assembly was scheduled to pass the measure later Tuesday.

Evers has said he will sign it.