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Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin weaken new governor, AD's powers

09 December 2018

"Over 2.6 million voters of this state cast their ballots, and they spoke up clearly for a change from eight years of complete Republican control of state government". The legislation also shields the state jobs agency from his control until September and cuts into the powers of the incoming Democratic attorney general.

Wisconsin's GOP Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, seemed ill-prepared for the wave of condemnation directed at his caucus, saying that he was "a little surprised" by the reaction and calling the demonstrations "over the top".

Republican Robin Vos, Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, said on Twitter that "Democrats have been exaggerating and resorting to hyperbole".

"The will of the people has officially been ignored by the legislature", Evers said Wednesday afternoon.

"Since the release of the extraordinary session bills on Friday night, I have been working tirelessly with my policy staff, legislative service agencies, my Senate colleagues, and leadership to understand and pare down these bills to common-sense codification and technical fixes that don't overstep the powers granted to the legislature".

Outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker has signaled he supports the legislation.

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He also defended Republican lawmakers against charges they're violating the will of voters, who elected Democrats as governor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state. The Legislature wasn't expected to complete its work until early Wednesday morning.

"I can handle the shouts but leave the kids alone", Walker later tweeted.

Republicans explained the moves to limit to the authority of the governor as part of a long-needed change in the balance of power, which they said had become tilted in favour of the executive branch.

The fight over power in Madison came after Republicans, who have controlled the state for the past eight years, lost the offices of governor and attorney general during the midterm elections.

The legislative package that Republicans are seeking to shepherd to Walker's desk includes measures unlikely to attain the signature of a Democratic governor, such as limits to early voting and a prohibition on the state's withdrawal from a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. "Back to a position where people in Wisconsin may feel their voices were not heard on November 6 and put us in a place where the legislative branch will be fighting with the executive branch for no apparent reason".

The efforts are reminiscent of lame-duck maneuvers that North Carolina Republicans took in 2016 to strip the incoming Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, of the power to appoint a majority of members to a state election-oversight board. Just now, it passed the State Assembly. Democrats and other opponents argued the measure provided inadequate coverage and would cause premiums to skyrocket, making coverage unaffordable for people. The measure had always been stalled in the Senate due to lack of GOP support. In the meantime, Republican Gov. Scott Walker faced a chorus of boos from protesters at an event in the state Capitol.

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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. Republicans have controlled the Assembly, Senate and governor's office since 2011. The new legislation will rescind much of that power from his Democratic successor. "Be fair. Give the voters the right to choose their governor and attorney general".

One measure, House Bill 6553, would give the state House of Representatives and Senate the power to intervene in legal proceedings. The new laws allow legislative employees to hire outside counsel for lawsuits, rather than the Department of Justice's lawyers.

"Wisconsin should be embarrassed by this", Evers said.

The proposal would also restrict early voting to no more than two weeks before an election. It passed the Assembly shortly after 8 a.m. with a mostly party-line vote of 56-27, with Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, joining Democrats in voting against.

Earlier Monday, one of the top Republican legislators in Wisconsin said he helped draft the plan to weaken the incoming Democratic governor because state Republicans "don't trust Tony Evers right now".

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Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin weaken new governor, AD's powers