Republicans pushed on through protests, internal disagreement and Democratic opposition during a lame-duck legislative session to reduce the powers of Gov. -elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, also a Democrat.
Opponents cast them as a last-gasp power grab and attempt to invalidate the November election.
The lame-duck maneuvering in Wisconsin is similar to what Republicans did in North Carolina two years ago and is being discussed in MI before a Democratic governor takes over there.
The protests, coming at the end of Walker's eight years in office, were reminiscent of tumult that came shortly after he took office in 2011 and moved to end collective bargaining powers for public sector unions.
The legislation 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.
Other measures would weaken the attorney general's office by allowing Republican legislative leaders to intervene in cases and hire their own attorneys.
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"They've got this pretty sweeping measure that would restrict the powers of the incoming Democratic governor, the incoming Democratic attorney general".
Republicans in both states have defended the moves as necessary to prevent Democrats from unraveling what they view as their legislative successes. "I said it 15 times every single day", Evers said.
Tony Evers will take the reins in Wisconsin in a little over a month, but at least Republicans are graciously relieving him of some of Scott Walker's old workload. But Fitzgerald said Walker and his chief of staff had been deeply involved in crafting the measures. "Republicans should try listening to voters to learn why they lost, instead of changing the rules for short-term political gain".
That likely dooms the plan to change the primary date from April to March, which would have helped a conservative state Supreme Court justice.
The state Elections Commission unanimously adopted a motion Monday declaring that the shift would be "extraordinarily difficult" and costly without additional funding. Republican State Assembly candidates only racked up 46 percent of the vote, compared to 54 percent for Democrats.
Similar limitations on early voting were found unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2016 and Democrats have threatened legal action again.
Despite the furious response, Republicans pressed ahead Tuesday evening - passing their package of bills in the state senate in the early morning hours Wednesday and later in the morning in the state assembly.
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Reporters at the scene described chaotic all-night negotiations with lawmakers wandering the Capitol building in Madison unsure of the current state of bill they were rushing to move forward.
The state also will impose monthly premiums on some enrollees in Medicaid ― called BadgerCare in Wisconsin ― with annual incomes as low as $6,070, which is half the federal poverty level. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., criticized the proposals in a tweet late last week, arguing that the state's voters "made their choices at the ballot box and state Republicans need to respect the results". "I think it's the wrong message, I think it is an embarrassment for the state and I think we can stop it".
But Republicans say the changes are blown out of proportion and ensure Wisconsin's government is evenly balanced.
Both Evers and Kaul urged Republicans not to do it and warned of lawsuits that would bring more gridlock to Wisconsin when the new administration, and the first divided government in 10 years, takes over. Jon Erpenbach said during Senate debate.
Erpenbach said expected legal challenges to what is passed could "grind things to a halt" in the Legislature for as much as a year. That would make the bills available for both the Senate and Assembly to vote on Tuesday.
Increasing the Republican-controlled Legislatures' power over the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., an agency Evers has said he would like to eliminate.
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