Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Walker signals support for lame-duck package

Walker signals support for lame-duck package

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on Tuesday sounded the alarm about the Republican Party's power grab in Wisconsin - and he said it amounted to nothing less than a "coup" against incoming Democratic governor Tony Evers. Numerous same protesters who confronted him then returned to the Capitol on Tuesday - albeit in far fewer numbers.

"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", said Evers, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The proposal drew opposition from 63 of Wisconsin's 72 county clerks.

Once approved by the Legislature, the other measures would head to Republican Gov. Scott Walker for his signature just five weeks before he is replaced by Democrat Tony Evers.

The Wisconsin Legislature is still considering a bill that would move the presidential primary in 2020, a move that state Sen.

Eliminate the solicitor general's office, which oversees high-profile litigation.

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The bills up for a public hearing and committee vote Monday, setting the stage for legislative action Tuesday, would move the 2020 presidential primary to help a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, restrict early voting in way a federal court already disallowed and give the GOP-controlled Legislature the power to sidestep Kaul in legal fights. Doing so could suppress certain voting populations including students and people of color, opponents have said. "You did not run on this. You rig the system when you win, and you rig the system when you lose". The proposal would allow leaders of the Legislature to appoint the additional members. Nygren said it was a positive step that would "bring us together to solve the problems of the state". In the meantime, Republican Gov. Scott Walker faced a chorus of boos from protesters at an event in the state Capitol. "But he's not the governor today", said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

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

The protests this year paled in comparison to 2011, when tens of thousands of people descended on the Capitol to oppose Walker's anti-union agenda for weeks.

Erpenbach said expected legal challenges to what is passed could "grind things to a halt" in the Legislature for as much as a year. Senate Democrats fled to IL, and Assembly Democrats filibustered for 60 straight hours in an unsuccessful attempt to stop Walker's changes. Traditionally Democrats and Republicans agree on time limits for debate, but Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said there was no agreement reached this time because the lame-duck session is "illegitimate" and an "absolutely terrible day for Wisconsin".

This legislation evolved over the last couple of days, when it became apparent that Wisconsin Republicans were serious about this project.

The move mirrored an effort underway in MI, where the Republican-controlled legislature is also weighing new laws that would hamstring incoming Democratic leaders who prevailed in last month's elections. While lame-duck sessions are common in Congress, they are unusual in Wisconsin. Other changes include weakening the attorney general's office by allowing Republican legislative leaders to dive into some cases with their own attorneys.

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But faced with a Democratic governor for the first time in eight years, legislative Republicans came up with a package of lame-duck bills to protect their priorities and make it harder for Evers to enact his.

The bill would weaken the governor's ability to put in place rules that enact laws and shield the state jobs agency from his control until September.

- Give the Legislature's budget committee, rather than the attorney general, the power to withdraw the state from lawsuits.

Kaul says that's created to prevent Evers from ordering him to withdraw from a multi-state lawsuit challenging federal health care laws. It came as Republican lawmakers prepared to vote on lame-duck session measures to weaken powers of the incoming Democratic governor. They made opposition to that lawsuit a central part of both of their campaigns.

Opponents have said numerous changes will likely be challenged in court, a process that could create even more gridlock in state government next year.

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