Wisconsin Republicans Pass Legislation to Reduce Powers of Governor, Attorney General

Frederick Owens
December 7, 2018

Meanwhile, North Carolina's Republican-led state Senate approved a new strict voter identification law on Thursday, after the state Assembly did the same on Wednesday.

The Wisconsin Legislature is preparing to vote on limiting the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general. Republicans argue that the new body, which would be made up of three Democratic and three Republican legislators appointed by the governor, would promote bipartisan cooperation. In Wisconsin, 47.2% of voters chose Trump to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's 46.5%. That takes away the ability of the state's attorney general to defend Wisconsin during legal challenges.

The bill was sent to the GOP-led House on Thursday for consideration as early as next week, following a similar move to restrict the powers of incoming Democrats in neighboring Wisconsin.

The bills - passed by a 56-53 margin with all Dems and several Republicans voting against them - would create a parallel commission called the Education Accountability Policy Commission that would be stacked with appointees from outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder and GOP Senate and House leadership.

The vote by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature to strip power away from the incoming governor and attorney general split for the most part along predictable partisan lines.

The full Senate could vote later Wednesday. But the new legislation would add another party to the discussion: the legislature, which would essentially be given veto power over Kaul and likely keep the state in the suit.

Both Evers and Kaul committed during the campaign to pulling Wisconsin out of a multi-state lawsuit seeking to invalidate Obamacare. The measure could ensure the GOP's ability to support laws if Democratic Gov. -elect Gretchen Whitmer and Democratic Attorney General-elect Nessel drop appeals in cases the state loses.

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The Wisconsin Senate has narrowly rejected a bill that would have created a state guarantee that people with pre-existing conditions can have access to health insurance. Republicans in both MI and Wisconsin will see eight years of total control of state government end in January, when Democrats take over the governor's mansions and other top executive posts. He says a handful of people desperately want to "cling to power".

The measure was approved on a 17-16 vote with all Democrats and one Republican voting against it.

The proposal up for a vote would weaken the governor's power to put in place administrative rules enacting state laws. Faced with a Democratic governor for the first time in eight years, Republicans came up with a package of lame-duck bills to preserve their priorities and make it harder for Evers to enact his.

"She's perfectly capable of figuring out who is a Democrat and who is a Republican without the help of this lame-duck Legislature".

Wisconsin Republicans passed a raft of bills that would allow lawmakers, rather than the attorney general, to decide whether to withdraw the state from lawsuits.

Republicans pushed on Tuesday night into Wednesday through protests, internal disagreement and Democratic opposition. Both Nessel and Benson are Democrats.

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