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Republicans are stripping power from incoming Democrats in Wisconsin and Michigan

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President Donald Trump at a rally in Washington, Michigan.
President
Donald Trump at a rally in Washington,
Michigan.

Scott Olson/Getty
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  • Democrats won upset gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin and
    Michigan last month, while Republicans managed to hold on to
    control of both chambers of the states’ legislatures.
  • During the lame-duck session, Republican state lawmakers
    introduced legislation that would limit the power of the
    executive branch in both states. 
  • Democrats are outraged by the moves, calling them partisan
    power grabs. 

Democrats won upset gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin and
Michigan last month, while Republicans managed to hold on to
control of both chambers of the states’ legislatures. The GOP is
now doing its best to strip power from the executive branches in
both states before Democrats take office in January. 

In Wisconsin, GOP leaders have introduced measures to limit
Gov.-elect Tony Evers’ control over the appointment of officials
and the rule-making process, limit early voting, and move the
2020 presidential primary date in an apparent effort to help a
Republican state Supreme Court candidate (which will cost the
state $7 million), among other measures.

Democrats are calling the moves anti-democratic.

“The last election changed the state in a way that apparently the
legislature has decided to not accept,” Evers
told
the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, on Sunday. Days after
his victory over Gov. Scott Walker (R), Evers called
the GOP plans “desperate antics to cling to power and violate the
checks and balances of Wisconsin government.”

The GOP is also pushing
expansive legislation
during the lame-duck session that would
significantly undermine the power of Wisconsin’s incoming
Democratic attorney general. The proposal would allow lawmakers
to hire a private attorney — at taxpayer expense — rather than
relying on the attorney general to litigate certain cases; would
give legislators final say in court settlements and how to spend
that revenue; and would get rid of the solicitor general’s
office.

The bill would also take control of state litigation — like
Wisconsin’s lawsuit challenging Obamacare — away from the
governor and give it to lawmakers. 


Read more: 
Outgoing
GOP state legislatures are cramming through conservative laws
before they lose power

“This is an attempt to undermine the election we had less than a
month ago by fundamentally changing the way our state government
operates,” Josh Kaul, the incoming attorney general,
told
the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday, adding that
the measure is sure to end up in court if it’s passed, although
he didn’t say who would bring the case. (At
least one
progressive legal group has already promised to
challenge the law if it’s passed). 

And in
Michigan
, GOP lawmakers are rewriting laws that would have
raised the minimum wage and mandated paid sick leave, and they
are introducing measures to dilute the power of the three
Democrats — all of them women — elected to statewide office.
Democrats are particularly concerned about GOP measures to move
oversight of campaign finance laws away from the secretary of
state, and to allow state lawmakers authority over state legal
matters traditionally left to the attorney general.

Republicans say they’re pushing the measures in order to create
more balance in government.

“Maybe we made some mistakes giving too much power to Gov.
Walker and I’d be open to looking at that to see if there are
areas we should change that,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

told reporters
shortly after the midterm elections. 

But Democrats are calling the moves clear partisan power grabs
and say the GOP never would have pushed for them had their
candidates won last month. 

Former Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the actions in a
Sunday tweet, calling them bad for democracy, and comparing them
to Republican efforts to strip power from North Carolina’s
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in 2016. 

 

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