Outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed sweeping legislation curtailing the authority of governor-elect Tony Evers.
With a Democratic majority poised to take over the lower house of the Wisconsin State Assembly in January, the GOP-controlled House convened a rare lame-duck session to pass legislation placing limits on Evers’ office, and the office of the state attorney general.
The new laws cover a range of activity: The measures transfer power of appointments from an economic development board to the legislature prohibits the new governor from banning firearms from the state Capitol, and forbids the state from pulling out of multi-state lawsuits challenging Obamacare without the approval from the legislature.
Similarly, the new laws restrict early in-person voting, blocks Mr. Evers from repealing work rules for enrollees in the BadgerCare health program.
Measures which also affect the incoming attorney general, Josh Kaul, the new laws abolish the state’s solicitor general office and will require Kaul to seek approval from the state House’s budget-writing committee to enter into any financial settlement with those pursuing litigation against the state.
In support of Walker’s action, outgoing state House Speaker Robin Vos described the shift in power back to the state House as the governor “acknowledging the importance of the Legislature as a co-equal branch of government.”
Outraged at what some define as a shifty maneuvering, Governor-elect Evers said of the new laws:
“It flies in the face of the people of Wisconsin wanting people to have bipartisan solutions, wanting to have less rancor, wanting to have less divide and conquer and what we have is a special session . . . where just the opposite happened.”
“Believe me, I understand that we have to have a strong legislative branch and we have to have a strong executive branch and a strong judicial branch,” he continued. “But the fact of the matter is this legislation would not have happened if Governor Walker would have been elected instead of me.”
Described as a “power grab” by some, critics of Walker’s enactment of the bills are planning legal action, including former Attorney General Eric Holder.
In November, Wisconsin’s GOP was swept from power, with Democrats seizing control of the Dairy State’s governor’s mansion, the attorney general’s office and the lower house of the state assembly.
[AP via TwinCities.com] [NBC News] [Washington Times] [Photo courtesy TMJ4 Milwaukee]