Wisconsin Republicans to vote on weakening governor's power

Saul Bowman
December 9, 2018

After a roughly 40-minute break, Roth reopened the gallery.

Wisconsin's lame-duck Republican-majority legislature called a rare post-election session this week to consider the proposals before Governor-elect Evers takes office in January and can exercise his veto power.

"Today's extraordinary session codifies into law reforms that have been eight years in the making", Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said.

"At a press event in Wisconsin Kaul said the legislature's actions are "virtually certain to end up in litigation" and predicted that it would end up as multiple litigation" in "multiple courts".

"Laws written by the legislature and passed by a governor should not be erased based on political maneuvering of an incoming administration", he said.

Some opponents of the bills in Wisconsin have also promised to take the matters to court.

The measure also attacks voting rights by restricting early voting to no more than two weeks before an election.

The changes expected to be signed into law by Gov.

The moves in both states have drawn comparisons to Republican efforts in North Carolina in 2016, when lawmakers pushed through legislation limiting the authority of the state's Democratic governor-elect, triggering a legal battle that resulted in a loss for the Republicans. Walker included limiting Evers' control over the state's jobs agency (which a year ago gave the Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn $3 billion in tax incentives to build a new factory in Wisconsin) as well as his ability to change the state's work requirements for food stamps and health care.

Unlike some of their representatives, thousands of Wisconsinites braved the freezing weather and turned out in force, crowding the inside of the capitol building with chants of "Respect our vote!" and rallying outside to denounce the Republicans' last-ditch power grab.

Among the appointments confirmed were Ellen Nowak for a seat on the Public Service Commission and high-profile attorney Scott Beightol for the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.

Demonstrators booed outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday during a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, a sign of tumult as Republicans in the Legislature met to push through measures to gut the powers of his Democratic successor. Just a couple of hours later, they passed the state Assembly. You won't even do this in the daylight.

Democratic Secretary of State Doug LaFollette beat Republican Jay Schroeder by a little more than 5 percentage points.

"Both the attorney general and I ran on those issues". Negotiations among Senate Republicans continued late into Tuesday night, indicating the caucus, which holds an 18-15 edge over Democrats, was trying to find a unified position.

GORDON HINTZ: Give me a break. "I think it's the wrong message, I think it is an embarrassment for the state and I think we can stop it".

A similar situation is playing out in MI, where new bills that would make it more hard for incoming Democrats to accomplish their agendas are now being introduced. That includes Wisconsin's voter ID law.

Assembly speaker Robin Vos countered that the bills will ensure a balance of power between the legislature and the executive branch. It was enacted by the governor.

The last lame-duck session in Wisconsin was in 2010, when Democrats tried unsuccessfully to enact labor agreements. Evers would also be barred from replacing the leader of the agency until September 1, at which point the number of appointments Evers and Democratic lawmakers can make would be equal to legislative Republicans.

In recent days, his response to the GOP proposals has been measured.

Evers, in his written remarks to the committee, said the Republicans' scheme "flies in the face of democratic institutions and the checks and balances that are meant to prevent power-hungry politicians from clinging to control when they do not get their way". Some in Wisconsin are already preparing for conflict.

"Republicans are defiant and desperate in the wake of a new Democratic Governor and Attorney General". Citizen-led groups can force lawmakers to take action or force a statewide ballot on a proposal using petition signatures. "Many of the provisions that have been put forward strengthen the legislature's oversight role to continue protecting taxpayers as we move into the next legislative session".

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