In Stunning Power Grab, Wisconsin Republicans Pass Bill Weakening New Governor




 

Wisconsin's lame-duck, Republican-controlled state Legislature passed on Wednesday a host of measures designed 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.

One part of the package would prohibit municipalities from allowing more than two weeks of early voting. That presumably would cut down on voter turnout, which generally helps Republicans.

Other provisions would give the Legislature full control of a state economic development agency, block the governor's ability to write regulations and allow the Legislature to hire its own lawyers to file lawsuits on behalf of the state.

Walker, who narrowly lost to Evers, is expected to sign the package into law.

Democrats are already threatening to fight the measures in court.

"We will actively be looking at either to litigate or do whatever else in our power to make sure the people of Wisconsin are represented at the table," Evers told reporters on Tuesday, according to The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

He and the other newly elected Democrats take office in early January.

One change Republicans had considered wasn't included in the final package ― scheduling the state's presidential primary for March instead of its current date in April. The GOP had hoped to separate it from a state Supreme Court election that is also on the April ballot. That likely would have resulted in a lower turnout for the April vote, presumably helping a conservative judge seeking re-election.

Critics have portrayed the GOP efforts as a betrayal of November's election results in which Democrats won not only the governorship but other key statewide offices that Republicans had held.

What didn't flip was Republican control of the state Senate and Assembly, thanks in large part to the gerrymandered nature of the legislative districts. As an example, the GOP retained a supermajority in the Assembly despite winning a minority of the overall votes cast in those races.

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"I need to stand up for the people of Wisconsin," Evers added. Evers, currently Wisconsin's education superintendent, defeated Walker in the Nov. 6 election and will take office on Jan. 7. The Republican-held legislature, in its lame-duck session, passed bills last week that would weaken the governor's powers prior to Evers taking office.

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