GOP-controlled Wisconsin Legislature OKs bills weakening incoming Democratic governor, attorney general

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Wisconsin Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says there aren't enough votes in the Senate to approve every proposal being offered in the lame-duck legislative session, but he wouldn't say that any of them are dead.

Evers is the first Democratic Governor in eight years, and he urged the GOP to halt the lame-duck bills.

During Tuesday night's debate, Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz commented, "Nothing we're doing here is about helping the people of Wisconsin".

Walker signaled support for the moves Monday, and his office has been working with Republicans on crafting the package.

The bill limits 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.

In fact, the Republicans' new laws would require the Republican-controlled state legislature's permission before the attorney general can get involved in any litigation challenging a federal law.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach speaks out against proposal to allow legislative leaders to hire their own attorneys
Sen. Jon Erpenbach speaks out against proposal to allow legislative leaders to hire their own attorneys. Credit Screenshot WisconsinEye

Gov. -elect Tony Evers has said he is considering all options in fighting this pending legislation.

Gov. Walker lost his election to Tony Evers by fewer than 30,000 votes out of more than two million cast.

Amid protests and accusations of a power grab, the Republican-led Wisconsin legislature approved a package of measures Wednesday meant to curb the authority of the USA state's newly-elected, incoming Democratic governor.

Democrats say the measure provided inadequate coverage and would cause premiums to skyrocket.

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.

Republicans have had majorities in the state Senate and Assembly since 2011, and worked with Walker the past eight years to past a host of conservative priorities.

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A GOP-controlled committee approved the measures late Monday after a nine-hour public hearing where only one person testified in support of one provision. That measure is meant to prevent Evers and the incoming Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul, from following through on their campaign promise to end Wisconsin's challenge to the federal Affordable Care Act. But rather than expanding early voting to all parts of the state, they made a decision to limit the early vote everywhere to two weeks, in an obvious move to prevent heavily Democratic areas from repeating the high turnout that just torpedoed Republican governor Scott Walker's bid for a third term.

"They've got this pretty sweeping measure that would restrict the powers of the incoming Democratic governor, the incoming Democratic attorney general".

Walker will have to sign off on any legislation limiting Evers' power.

In November, Democrats in Wisconsin won the governor's mansion and the race for attorney general after closely fought elections. The plan is expected to easily sail through the Assembly as early as Wednesday morning, and Walker has said he will sign it. The action comes just weeks before Republican Gov. Scott Walker is replaced by Democrat Tony Evers.

- Weaken the attorney general's office by allowing Republican legislative leaders to intervene in cases and hire their own attorneys.

"It goes to the heart of what democracy is all about", Evers said at a Sunday news conference held at a Milwaukee law firm. By early Wednesday, both chambers had also approved a transportation-related proposal, and the state Senate on Tuesday backed a series of appointments made by the outgoing governor weeks before he leaves office.

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

- 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.

Under another bill the state legislature passed Wednesday, Kaul and Evers are forbidden from withdrawing the state's participation in any pending lawsuits filed by the state without legislative approval.

Mike Brown is deputy director of the organization, which successfully challenged previous attempts to limit early voting which they believed targeted African American voters.

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