Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

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

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

A bill that won Senate approval on a 25-12 vote over Democrats' objections would influence how Benson implements a new voter-approved constitutional amendment that establishes an independent redistricting commission to draw congressional and legislative maps instead of the partisan Legislature.

Scott Walker is on his way out, defeated in November by Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers.

The proposal would also weaken the attorney general's office by requiring a legislative committee, rather than the attorney general, to sign off on withdrawing from federal lawsuits.

Following a midterm election that saw them lose all statewide offices, Wisconsin Republicans began drafting a plan to hamstring their newly-elected Democratic rivals.

The bills give the Republican legislature control of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation board, which for eight years has been the duty of Walker.

"The Legislature makes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws", said Rep. Robert Wittenberg of Huntington Woods.

Democrats have pushed back, claiming that the secretary of state's office - held by Republicans since 1995 - generally conducts its business in a non-partisan manner anyway and that the move dilutes the authority of incoming Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

On the heels of significant Democratic midterm victories in MI and Wisconsin, the Republican-controlled legislatures in both states have advanced plans to limit the authority of the states' newly elected governors. We want more people involved in our democracy - not less. Michigan Republicans have also passed last-minute bills to gut the minimum wage and paid sick leave.

Satellite images show activity at North Korean missile base
Washington and Pyongyang had been locked in a diplomatic standoff for weeks over which side would make concessions first. No North Korean leader has travelled to South Korea since the end of the Korean War, which killed millions.

The incoming Democratic governor of Wisconsin says he will make a personal appeal to outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker to veto legislation that weakens the new administration's powers.

The new legislation would allow districts to apply to become "innovative districts" that are exempt from most state education rules and would answer to the new commission.

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

In one concession, Republicans backed away from giving the Legislature the power to sidestep the attorney general and appoint their own attorney when state laws are challenged in court.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, said as debate concluded in that chamber that the bills would ensure a balance of power between the Legislature and the executive branch. "If you vote for this, shame on you, you will go down in history as a disgrace", Hintz said. "To you, this is all about politics".

The legislation would empower the Legislature to intervene in any suit at any stage - a right already granted to the attorney general.

Both Evers and Kaul committed during the campaign to pulling Wisconsin out of a multi-state lawsuit seeking to invalidate Obamacare. It would also limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election, a restriction similar to what a federal judge ruled was unconstitutional. They made opposition to that lawsuit a central part of both of their campaigns. "She's perfectly capable of figuring out who is a Democrat and who is a Republican without the help of this lame-duck Legislature".

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