Wisconsin Republicans approve bill to weaken Democrats's power

Tony Evers addresses the media flanked by Lt. Gov.-Elect Mandela Barnes and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul

Tony Evers addresses the media flanked by Lt. Gov.-Elect Ma

Protesters also booed Walker during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the capitol rotunda.

The bills now go to outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled his support.

Walker has signaled support, but he couldn't escape anger over the rare lame-duck session even during what is normally an upbeat holiday tradition. Others include limiting the power of incoming Democratic Gov.

The fact that Walker was making no attempt to halt the effort "clearly indicates he wants to be able to control things outside the governor's office for the next four or eight years", Hahn said.

"Since the release of the extraordinary session bills on Friday night, I have been working tirelessly with my policy staff, legislative service agencies, my Senate colleagues, and leadership to understand and pare down these bills to common-sense codification and technical fixes that don't overstep the powers granted to the legislature".

Republicans worked on the proposals in secret for weeks, discussing portions of their agenda only once they were leaked. Protests reached 100,000 in 2011, but only a few dozen were on hand Tuesday.

Gov. -elect Tony Evers has said he is considering all options in fighting this pending legislation.

Some hinted at filibusters or legal challenges and called the lame-duck session "illegitimate". Democratic turnout is expected to be high, so moving the vote would boost the prospects of Dan Kelly, a conservative state supreme court justice up for election in April.

An hours-long Monday public hearing on the bills before a Wisconsin legislative committee was repeatedly disrupted by protesters' shouts, while Democratic lawmakers railed at Republicans. The measure had always been stalled in the Senate due to lack of GOP support.

The measures would also limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election, a move Democrats say is illegal.

"The people aren't asking for this", Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor said. You didn't tell people you would do everything in your power to take away the power of a newly elected governor and attorney general. "You rig the system when you win, and you rig the system when you lose".

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Assembly Speaker Robin Vos countered that the bills would ensure a balance of power between the Legislature and the executive branch. The only step left is Scott Walker's signature, which-if he signs it-will seal his legacy as an enemy as democracy and a friend only to his own power.

"Much of what we did over the last eight years is work with the Legislature", he told reporters, "not at odds with the Legislature". "Depends on what they send me", he said.

Another element of the bill would make it more hard for Evers to alter some GOP-backed laws, including Wisconsin's voter ID law. Those protests were massive and lasted weeks. Senate Democrats fled to IL, and Assembly Democrats filibustered for 60 straight hours in an unsuccessful attempt to stop Walker's changes.

Divided along party lines, the GOP-run state budget committee in Wisconsin acted overnight to advance numerous controversial measures after less than 12 hours of debate and amid growing protests in and around the capitol in Madison.

"I am surprised at just how egregious these are", said Greig, the incoming House minority leader, who added that any effort to rewrite those laws would be challenged in court.

The bill is one of several Republicans plan to take up during a lame-duck session starting Monday.

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Assembly have passed a lame-duck bill enacting a Medicaid work requirement.

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

In the early morning hours of a lame-duck session Wednesday, state lawmakers approved legislation that would prevent Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul from carrying out their campaign promises to protect and expand food, medical and unemployment assistance for low-income Wisconsinites.

In Michigan, where Democrats last month won the governor's mansion as well as the races for attorney general and secretary of state, Republican lawmakers introduced measures last week that would water down the authority of those officeholders on campaign finance oversight and other legal matters. Sen.

The legislation would also require legislative approval to withdraw from lawsuits, taking that away from the attorney general.

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