Scorched earth: WI Republicans strip powers of governor, AG after midterm losses

Scorched earth: WI Republicans strip powers of governor, AG after midterm losses

Scorched earth: WI Republicans strip powers of governor, AG after midterm losses

The Republican-controlled state Legislature in Wisconsin has approved new limits on the power of Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers in a lame-duck session.

The votes on the bills to reign in Evers and Kaul's powers were scheduled to take place on Tuesday, but the GOP worked well into Wednesday morning, mostly in closed door caucus sessions, to work out differences among themselves-the only ones, in their view, whose opinion mattered.

The measure, which would require regulators to only accept studies used by the Environmental Protection Agency, which under the Trump administration is rejecting previously accepted studies that cite proprietary data, is believed by activists to be fast-tracked so it can make it to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's desk before Democratic Gov. -elect Gretchen Whitmer takes office.

Nothing we're doing here is about helping the people of Wisconsin. "It's about power and self-interest".

Wisconsin's incoming Democratic governor is condemning moves by Republicans legislators to weaken his power. 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". One would have moved the date of the 2020 presidential primary election, one would have let Republican legislative leaders intervene in lawsuits filed against the state and enlist their own lawyers rather than the attorney general, and the third would have provided a state-level guarantee of health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. An amendment to do away with that provision was part of a Republican rewrite of the bill, made public around 4:30 a.m. after all-night negotiations. He was booed and heckled during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the capitol on Tuesday.

Evers said the GOP agenda was an embarrassing look for the state.

The Wisconsin bill would require Evers to run a drug testing program for a subset of people enrolled in FoodShare, as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is known in the state. After the 2020 census, Republicans won't have the trifecta control of Wisconsin that they'd need to keep their gerrymander in place - because Tony Evers will still be governor. Why are we here today?

Wisconsinites expect more from us and I hope at some point the Legislature will rise to the occasion and work with me to solve the pressing issues facing our state. It's about helping politicians.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos countered the bills would ensure a balance of power between the Legislature and the executive branch.

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The fact that Walker was making no attempt to halt the effort "clearly indicates he wants to be able to control things outside the governor's office for the next four or eight years", Hahn said. "To you, this is all about politics".

Kaul, an attorney, would not comment in an interview with The Associated Press about the possibility of legal challenges.

Earlier this week, the Republican-held state legislature passed a series of measures aimed at tying the hands of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general. Roth says he was ordering the public removed for not heeding repeated warnings to remain quiet during debate.

Democracy watchers across the country weighed in as concerned citizens and journalists flooded the Capitol in Madison again Wednesday morning.

They also make it harder for Mr. Evers and Mr. Kaul to fulfill health care promises they made during their winning campaigns.

The Legislature passed another measure to enact Medicaid work requirement rules Walker recently won a federal waiver to establish.

Michigan Republicans have also introduced legislation to strip some powers from the offices of the state attorney general and secretary of state, which were both captured by Democrats, along with the governorship in the November 6 elections. Republican lawmakers pushed through a sweeping set of bills that will limit the power of Governor-elect Evers.

The votes to pass the sweeping package of bills would come about a month before Evers is slated to take office. The tumult was reminiscent of much larger demonstrations in the opening weeks of Walker's time as governor in 2011, when he effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers.

Republican Senate President Roger Roth took the unusual step after warning the crowd twice that Senate rules prohibited them from reacting to debate.

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