Wisconsin Senate Passes Bill Limiting Governor's Powers

Posted December 09, 2018

Republicans will succeed in this effort, and in a similar one in MI, thanks to a lame-duck period for outgoing Republican governors and GOP legislative majorities.

Wisconsin Republicans worked through the night Tuesday to bring together enough votes to pass a sweeping package of lame-duck proposals created to empower the GOP-controlled Legislature and weaken the incoming Democrat replacing Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

"Power-hungry politicians rushed through sweeping changes to our laws to expand their own power and override the will of the people of Wisconsin who asked for change on November 6th", Evers said in the statement.

Republicans are pulling from a playbook popularized in North Carolina two years ago, when Republicans in the Legislature responded to GOP Gov. Nothing we're doing here is about helping the people of Wisconsin. Other pieces are aimed at insisting on legislative backing for certain decisions traditionally made by the attorney general.

Tony Evers, the incoming Democratic governor of Wisconsin, offered that pithy appraisal on Tuesday night of Republican efforts to limit his authority and that of the incoming attorney general, who is also a Democrat.

The proposals include preventing the incoming governor from withdrawing Wisconsin from a legal challenge to the federal Affordable Care Act, sidestepping the attorney general's power to represent the state in litigation and rescheduling a 2020 election to boost the chances of a Republican state Supreme Court Justice, among others.

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Much of the current controversy amounts to "inside baseball", in the words of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, that hasn't broken through with much of the voting public.

"I heard lots and lots of people talking on the campaign about how they believe in. keeping in place protections for people with pre-existing conditions", Kaul said.

Evers said the GOP agenda was an embarrassing look for the state. Walker supports the measures. But Fitzgerald said Walker and his chief of staff had been deeply involved in crafting the measures.

Republicans, by contrast, maintained the changes are meant to restore an appropriate balance of power among branches of state government.

The state Elections Commission unanimously adopted a motion Monday declaring that the shift would be "extraordinarily difficult" and costly without additional funding.

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

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Another measure passed by the Legislature early Wednesday morning would limit Evers' ability to change state laws that require able-bodied, childless adults to work in order to receive public benefits like food stamps and Medicaid. Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said as debate began for more than nine hours late Tuesday night.

But crowds of protesters descended on the state capitol in Madison in repudiation, shouting "shame" and booing lawmakers inside.

Bills advancing in Michigan's Republican-controlled Legislature would strip power from the incoming Democratic secretary of state. "If they think they can control the state of Wisconsin, even though they can't get voters of this state to agree with them, that's not democracy". "This is not how a democracy works, and if these bills go through into law, we really don't have a democracy as it stands up to be". But he didn't even try to hide the motivation behind the bills, saying that the bills were necessary because "we don't trust Tony Evers right now".

"What we've seen in Wisconsin in the last number of weeks is completely different from anything we have seen in my experience", Doyle said at a news conference. Wisconsin counties set their own early voting rules, and the biggest cities - Milwaukee and Madison - allowed early voting for six weeks.

Republicans voted early Tuesday morning to send a package of changes to the Assembly and Senate floor. First in the lame-duck session before his term, then on the ballot.

Which, said another way, goes like this: I want people to know the state legislature is controlled by Republicans, and the governor's mansion ain't. Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach warned of the potential consequences.

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He said he will talk to Walker as soon as the bills reach his desk and that if he can not persuade the governor to veto the proposals, he will consider lawsuits and any other option "to make sure that this legislation does not get into practice".