Republicans in both states say they need to reduce the powers of their Democratic attorneys general and strengthen their own authority to preserve GOP initiatives such as voter ID.
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 attorney general's office, meanwhile, wouldn't be allowed to withdraw from federal lawsuits. And they would limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election, a restriction similar to what a federal judge ruled was unconstitutional.
"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. Wednesday after a seven-hour impasse.
The bill would restrict early voting ― which is generally known to increase voter turnout and thus help Democrats ― prevent Evers from banning guns in the state capitol without the Legislature's approval and give lawmakers increased control over a beleaguered state economic development agency. That bill would also give the Legislature oversight over the governor seeking future waivers for health care, a change Democrats said would handcuff the new administration.
The pre-existing conditions measure failed after all 15 Democrats in the Senate and two Republicans voted against it.
Early Wednesday, the Wisconsin Senate approved legislation that will weaken the governing abilities of incoming Democrats Gov. -elect Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul. 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.
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But Tony Evers (EE'-vers) says he'll first make a personal appeal to Republican Gov. Scott Walker to veto the legislation.
"My pitch to Governor Walker will be a couple of things, but most importantly it's part of his legacy that as he's walking out the door that he can, I believe, do the right thing for the people of Wisconsin and consider some vetoes", Evers says.
The vote by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature to strip power away from the incoming governor and attorney general split for the most part along predictable partisan lines. That measure is awaiting a final legislative vote in the state Assembly.
Among the political flashpoints in this lame-duck session in Lansing are pieces of legislation that would limit the power of the attorney general and the secretary of state. That chamber ultimately approved the package 17-16, with one Republican, state Sen.
The changes would also weaken the governor's ability to put in place rules that enact laws.
A public policy analyst contends that Republicans would be very upset if Democrats did what the lame duck Republican leadership is doing in Wisconsin. Attorneys general frequently decline to defend challenges involving legislation that conflicts with the views of the executive branch.