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

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

Wisconsin Republicans moved quickly Monday with a rare lame-duck session that would change the 2020 presidential primary date to benefit a conservative Supreme Court justice and weaken the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general.

Democrats have criticized it as a last-minute power grab that undercuts the November 6 elections, when Democrats broke years of total Republican control of state government in Wisconsin.

Require state health officials to implement a federal waiver allowing Wisconsin to require childless adults to work to receive health insurance through the BadgerCare Plus program for the poor.

A Republican-controlled legislative committee planned a public hearing Monday, immediately followed by a vote, setting up approval in the state Senate and Assembly on Tuesday. "I'm not sure what they're afraid of", Evers said.

Republican lawmakers will hold a so-called "extraordinary session" beginning Monday on a sweeping plan to pass a number of new laws before the Democratic governor takes office in January.

The pre-existing conditions measure failed after all 15 Democrats in the Senate and two Republicans voted against it.

That chamber's vote came a few hours after the Senate, shortly after sunrise, voted 17-16 to pass the legislation.

The plan would also take away from the governor the power to withdraw the state from a lawsuit, allowing lawmakers to make the decision instead.

Republican lawmakers defended the measures, saying they were meant to codify into law a more active role in the state for the GOP-led legislature.

The Wisconsin maneuvering is similar to what Republicans did in North Carolina two years ago and to what is being discussed in MI before a Democratic governor takes over there.

Wisconsin's lame-duck, Republican-controlled state Legislature passed on Wednesday a host of measures created to kneecap Gov. -elect Tony Evers, other Democrats elected to statewide offices and hurt the Democratic Party in general, sending the legislation to the GOP governor Evers defeated ― Scott Walker ― for his signature.

The proposal up for a vote would weaken the governor's power to put in place administrative rules enacting state laws.

"This legislation will work to nullify a lot of what this last election was about", Evers said Sunday.

Tony Evers speaks after winning Wisconsin's Democratic gubernatorial primary election on August 14, 2018 in Madison, Wis.

About 565,000 people voted early in the November elections. The last lame-duck session in Wisconsin was in 2010, when Democrats tried unsuccessfully to enact labor agreements. The bill would also give the Legislature oversight over the governor seeking future waivers for health care, a change Democrats said would handcuff the new administration.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, left, with the help of the Mary and Don Miller family from Plainfield, Wis., flipped the switch to light the state Christmas Tree in the Capitol Rotunda in Madison.

"This legislation is an effort to undermine the results of the elections we just had for governor and for attorney general", Kaul told reporters Tuesday. Debate on the rest of the proposals was expected to stretch into early Wednesday in both houses.

Wisconsin Gov. -elect Tony Evers said he is prepared to fight Republican-backed proposals to limit his power, even if it means litigation.

Republicans pushed on Tuesday night into Wednesday through protests, internal disagreement and Democratic opposition.

They made opposition to that lawsuit a central part of both of their campaigns and handcuffing their ability to get Wisconsin out of the case has fueled Democratic arguments that Republicans are trying to invalidate the will of voters. Former Democratic attorney general and Gov. Jim Doyle said the moves were unconstitutional.

The measures would also limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election, a move Democrats say is illegal.