Wisconsin legislature approves series of bills limiting governor's power after all-night session

Wisconsin GOP preparing to move ahead with limiting Democratic power

Require Evers to get permission from the legislature before banning guns in the capitol.

"No one in either party ran on a platform including these structural changes to state government", one woman testified.

During that period, controversial legislation is frequently introduced, including proposals that would limit an incoming legislator's powers.

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has been more open about the partisan machinations in play.

"You rig the system when you win and you rig the system when you lose", Wisconsin Democratic state Rep. Chris Taylor said of the Republican legislation.

Groups like One Wisconsin Now have claimed the last-minute push by the GOP-controlled Legislature to change the upcoming presidential primary date and neuter Gov. -elect Tony Evers influence over his state agencies is an assault on democracy. He says a handful of people desperately want to "cling to power". The bill now moves to Gov. Scott Walker's desk for his signature.

He also signaled support for other bills in the package that would weaken the governor and attorney general's offices.

The state Assembly approved the lame-duck legislation Wednesday morning. Lawmakers also voted to limit early voting in Wisconsin and make it more hard for Evers to alter Wisconsin's voter ID law.

Walker tweeted that he "can handle the shouts, but leave the kids alone".

Republicans are pulling from a playbook popularized in North Carolina two years ago, when Republicans in the Legislature responded to GOP Gov. They also moved to give lawmakers authority to stand up for GOP-backed laws if they think the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general are not adequately defending the state's interests. That measure is aimed at preventing Evers and the incoming attorney general, Josh Kaul, from following through on campaign promises to end Wisconsin's challenge to the federal Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. Wisconsin counties set their own early voting rules, and the biggest cities - Milwaukee and Madison - allowed early voting for six weeks. Democratic turnout is expected to be high, so moving the vote would boost the prospects of Dan Kelly, a conservative state supreme court justice up for election in April.

After a frantic, extraordinary 22-hour legislative session, Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly on Wednesday morning joined their Senate colleagues in passing a sweeping package of bills meant to curb the authority of incoming Democratic Gov.

After 10 hours of testimony and debate, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee took its last vote just after midnight Tuesday.

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"Today, you cheat and you steal your way into the next session and administration", said Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. The measure had always been stalled in the Senate due to lack of GOP support. Defeated Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the measure on his way out of office. Instead, Democrats support bolstering coverage guarantees in the federal health care law.

When they unveiled the bills, Wisconsin's Republican legislative chiefs - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - wrote in a statement that "The legislature is the most representative branch in government", as though the bills were a defense of democracy. That plan passed on a party-line vote in the Assembly and Senate, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against. The legislature in effect is taking for itself the governor's authority to approve the attorney general's plans to cancel or settle legal actions.

To Democrats, the plan is a repudiation of the November 6 election that felled Republican Gov. Scott Walker and swept Democrats into state offices.

Carrie Lynch, a spokeswoman for Evers, said the governor-elect was eager to avoid litigation but didn't rule it out. In a 4:30 am update, they did away with a provision that would give the Legislature the power to appoint their own attorney when state laws are challenged in court.

Another GOP proposal would scale back the number of days communities could offer early voting.

Perhaps most significantly, the bill blocks Evers from canceling the state's new work requirements for Medicaid enrollees, which President Donald Trump's administration approved in October.

Most of the attention has centered on Wisconsin, where Republicans are in the midst of an "extraordinary session" created to effectively prevent Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul from delivering on their campaign promises.

"At no point in the election process did anybody say, 'The legislature might change the process so that the new governor may not be able to direct the attorney general to withdraw from that lawsuit, '" Kaul said.

The Assembly passed the bill 59-32 early Wednesday morning.

Other proposals passed. But the power grab is temporary.

Republicans in MI are also using a lame-duck session to rewrite the rules for incoming Democratic leaders.

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