Lame-duck session bills approved, sent to Walker

Wisconsin Republicans forge ahead with power-stripping bills

That's what happened last night, and before sunrise this morning, in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin's incoming Democratic attorney general is predicting multiple lawsuits challenging Republican lame-duck legislation limiting the powers of both his office and Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers. Republican lawmakers pushed through a sweeping set of bills that will limit the power of Governor-elect Evers. It's the least. In terms of vote totals, they're the losers of the 2018 elections.

That maneuver allows Republicans to scale back the laws with a simple majority, instead of the three-quarters vote required to change any voter-approved ballot measure.

Republicans, however, who lost their legislature supermajority in the election, are racing to pass the amendment before next year, when Cooper might be able to veto it. In fact, there's a chance that the gerrymandered map will be thrown out by the Supreme Court next year. There was no statewide race at the top of the ticket on November 6, but Democrats flipped 10 state House seats and six Senate seats - enough to break GOP supermajorities. Republicans control the Senate 18-15 and can not afford more than one defection. Republican lawmakers claimed that this rankled their (often rural) constituents.

"This is a heck of a way to run a railroad", Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said as the Senate debate resumed at 5 a.m. after a seven-hour impasse.

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"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. That move is created to block Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers from allowing the incoming attorney general, Democrat Josh Kaul, to withdraw Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. Under the newly approved bill, approval to withdraw would have to come from the Legislature's budget committee, rather than the governor.

He slammed the GOP proposals now as "unconstitutional violations of separations of powers. Whether everyone here likes it or not, I respect the fact that Tony Evers is the governor and he's going to be starting on January 7", Vos said at a news conference.

As the votes neared, legislative leaders began to let the mask slip about the true intention of their legislation.

A news conference where Fitzgerald and other Republican leaders spoke was peppered with catcalls from protesters.

"That impacts everyone", Evers said. But, as former House candidate Randy Bryce testified to a legislative committee later that night, "Voters do".

Incoming Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers has said he wants to reorganize the job-creation agency. But for the moment, they have the power to do so - so they are.

Walker downplayed the significance of the legislation's proposed changes and said the measures seek to keep in place the current friendly dynamic between the Republican governor and GOP-controlled Legislature. "They clearly have a majority in the legislature".

"We have allowed far too much authority to flow to the executive", Vos said.

"Democracy dies in darkness. or perhaps in the early morning light", wrote The Nation's John Nichols, a Wisconsin native, after the measure passed the state Senate and headed toward an Assembly vote, the final hurdle before the legislation reaches outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker's desk.

It was a shocking result.

Republicans have controlled both branches for eight years.

The executive director of One Wisconsin Now, which filed the lawsuit challenging the previous attempt to limit early voting, said the Republican's latest effort shows they "refuse to accept the results of the 2018 elections" and are anxious about large voter turnout. A GOP measure that included lifetime coverage caps was rejected by Senate Democrats and a pair of Republicans early Wednesday.

Almost every County Clerk in Wisconsin came out against the proposal, calls flooded state legislative lines - and that idea died in committee. The Senate passed the proposal earlier in the evening. These laws will be laws challenged in court.

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