Wisconsin Legislature OKs weakening governor, AG

The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. Laura Zimmerman  WPR

The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. Laura Zimmerman WPR

Senate President Roger Roth, R-Appleton, took the unusual step after warning the crowd twice that Senate rules prohibited them from reacting to debate.

The bill is part of a package of Republican lame-duck legislation created to weaken Evers and incoming Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

The protesters took aim at Walker as Republican legislators prepare to vote on several proposals aimed at weakening Walker's incoming Democratic successor.

"I can handle the shouts but leave the kids alone", Walker later tweeted.

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.

Democratic groups and voters packed the Capitol this week to voice their discontent, and some parts of the bill, like the provision to limit early voting to two weeks, are likely to face litigation.

Evers sent Walker a letter on Tuesday complaining that the appointees haven't been fully vetted and that some haven't filed statements of economic interest. In recent years, Tussler said, the state has obtained federal waivers for leeway to do such picayune things as allowing food stamp recipients to certify their poverty with a phone interview instead of having to drive to an office.

Walker spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg didn't immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

But Republicans didn't plan on the furious wave of protests that would descend on the state capitol in Madison on Monday afternoon.

Republican lawmakers will hold a so-called "extraordinary session" beginning Monday on a sweeping plan to pass a number of new laws before the Democratic governor takes office in January. Protesters lined the balcony and floor of the rotunda holding signs that read, "Stop the GOP Madness" and "GOP Grinch Steals Democracy".

Walker left without taking questions.

In the neighbouring Midwestern state of MI, another Republican-controlled legislature is considering the passage of similar laws to hobble newly elected Democrats. "Tony Evers is going to be governor in a few short weeks".

Defending the rushed process and content of the bill package, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that Democrats unfairly "whipped up people" and that he was sickened that they "so grossly" exaggerated its goal, according to the New York Times. That's the reason the GOP is stripping powers from the governor's office, right?

"You're here because you don't want to give up power", Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said as debate concluded in that chamber. If lawmakers feel they represent the state's best interests, they could push the attorney general aside.

"I heard lots and lots of people talking on the campaign about how they believe in. keeping in place protections for people with pre-existing conditions", Kaul said. Fred Risser, a Democrat from Madison.

Assembly Democrats filibustered for 60 straight hours in 2011 in a vain attempt to stop Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining restrictions.

Members of the Legislature's budget committee spoke to reporters Monday ahead of a public hearing on the package of proposals. A third served under former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Incoming Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers has said he wants to reorganize the job-creation agency.

It would prevent Mr Evers and attorney general-elect Josh Kaul from making good on campaign promises such as removing the state from a lawsuit against the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

He says the legislation is "virtually certain" to generate lawsuits across multiple courts. Going forward, anytime Wisconsin seeks a modification, waiver, or tweak on its implementation of a federal law, Governor Evers will need the state legislature's permission.

The measures would also require the attorney general to get legislative approval to withdraw from lawsuits.

Taylor said that may include lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the measures, if they become law.

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature passed a sweeping measure early on Wednesday that takes power away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, and reduces how long early voting can take place.

Democrats blasted the Republican majority for trying to grab power after they lost the governorship in elections on November 6.

The package would move the primary from April to March, creating three elections in eight weeks.

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