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Lone Wisconsin Republican Who Opposed Stealing Democrats’ Power Explains Why

Lone Wisconsin Republican Who Opposed Stealing Democrats’ Power Explains Why

The bills on Walker's desk would weaken the state's executive branch at precisely the time Democrats are set to reclaim it after almost a decade on the outs.

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Assembly have passed a lame-duck bill enacting a Medicaid work requirement.

Also Wednesday, the House voted 58-50 for legislation that would empower the Legislature, House or Senate to intervene in any suit at any stage, a right already granted to the attorney general.

Evers says Republicans are ignoring the will of voters. But Democrats say it is a power grab and would ensure deadlock by letting political parties sway who sits on the commission.

But with an assist from his GOP allies in the state legislature, Walker appear poised to sign off on a suite of measures created to strip power from his successor.

Michigan Democrats in January will jointly hold the governor, attorney general and secretary offices for the first time in 28 years, but the Legislature will continue to be controlled by Republicans.

The Michigan state Senate voted on Thursday to strip the power to oversee campaign finance from the newly elected Democratic secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, instead handing the authority to a bipartisan commission.

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Other measures advancing in the GOP-controlled Legislature would strengthen legislative power and block future efforts to force nonprofits to disclose their donors.

In Wisconsin, the legislature is controlled by Republicans, but their governor and secretary of state flipped red to blue in November. The sponsor, Rep. Rob VerHeulen of Walker, said it would simply let the Legislature intervene without the court approval that it now needs, regardless of which party is in power. That measure is meant to stop Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, both Democrats, from following through on campaign promises to end Wisconsin's challenge to the federal healthcare law known as Obamacare.

Walker has signaled his support for the proposal.

The bill would limit the governor's ability to put in place administrative rules that enact laws and give the Legislature the power to control appointees to the board that runs the state economic development agency until September 1.

Republican Governor Scott Walker has indicated he will sign the bills before leaving office at the end of December, though his office said on Thursday he was reviewing the legislation. The Michigan Constitution prohibits the legislature from making changes to citizen-initiated laws in the same legislative session. They said the anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative approved last month is self-executing, and the legislation is unconstitutional and is not supported by organizers of the ballot drive nor people who voted for it. There could also be cases where legislators want to take the same side as the attorney general but make a different legal argument.

In a statement, Evers said: "Wisconsin has never seen anything like this".

The legislature says the bills were necessary to balance power between the executive and legislative branch. Michigan Republicans have also passed last-minute bills to gut the minimum wage and paid sick leave. In the Senate, it passed 17-16, with every Democrat opposed.


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