Here's how Wisconsin Republicans want to strip power from incoming Democrats

Elias Hubbard
December 7, 2018

Republicans in both MI and Wisconsin will see eight years of total control of state government end in January, when Democrats take over the governor's mansions and other top executive posts.

Evenson didn't give a time frame for when Walker would act. Walker has 10 days from when the bills arrived on his desk to make a decision on what to do with them.

Walker's office worked closely with legislators to craft the measures, but Republican lawmakers made last-minute changes during late-night negotiations.

Walker is getting bipartisan pressure to veto the measures, including from Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers.

SB 884 would limit the duties of the attorney general by taking away his power to name a solicitor general to represent the state in major lawsuits. If that doesn't work Evers said he might sue.

Pundits have described these actions as Republicans playing "hard ball", though the description obscures a noxious reality: Republicans aren't playing ball at all - they are rejecting the basic rules of the game.

Wisconsin Republicans passed a raft of bills that would allow lawmakers, rather than the attorney general, to decide whether to withdraw the state from lawsuits. Last month, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer captured the governor's seat in MI, trouncing her Republican opponent by ten percentage points. "Wisconsin should be embarrassed by this". Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has not taken a position on the measure or others that could win final legislative approval as soon as next week. If he can not persuade the governor to veto the proposals, Evers said he will consider lawsuits and any other option "to make sure that this legislation does not get into practice".

The votes early Wednesday were the height of a rare lame-duck legislative session.

FILE Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer D-N.Y. speaks with reporters following the weekly Democratic policy meetings at the Capitol in Washington
Wisconsin GOP's Lame-Duck Play: 'A New Philosophy of Governing'

A spokesperson for Walker says the governor is reviewing the bills. The bill also would require new legislative oversight of waiver requests related to health care made by the governor.

The vote by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature to strip power away from the incoming governor and attorney general split for the most part along predictable partisan lines.

Early Wednesday, the Wisconsin Senate approved legislation that will weaken the governing abilities of incoming Democrats Gov. -elect Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Meanwhile, North Carolina's Republican-led state Senate approved a new strict voter identification law on Thursday, after the state Assembly did the same on Wednesday. The Assembly approved it on a 56-27 vote about two hours later, with a single Republican defecting.

"The incoming secretary of state was elected to preside over election matters", said Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich of Flint. "She's perfectly capable of figuring out who is a Democrat and who is a Republican without the help of this lame-duck Legislature". He says a handful of people desperately want to "cling to power". If you vote for this, shame on you. "You will go down in history as a disgrace", he added, as he and other Democrats employed hyperbolic rhetoric.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos countered that the bills would ensure a balance of power between the Legislature and the executive branch.

"We have allowed far too much authority to flow to the executive", Vos said. "To you, this is all about politics".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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