MADISON, Wis. — Dec 5, 2018, 8:41 PM ET

Next governor will ask Walker to veto lame-duck legislation

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The incoming Democratic governor of Wisconsin said Wednesday that he plans to make a personal appeal to his defeated rival, Gov. Scott Walker, to veto far-reaching GOP legislation that would strip the new administration of some powers. If that doesn't work, he might sue.

Wisconsin Republicans pushed through protests, internal disagreement and Democratic opposition to pass the bills after an all-night session. The measures would shift power to the GOP-controlled Legislature and weaken the authority of the office Republicans will lose in January.

"The will of the people has officially been ignored by the Legislature," Gov. Tony Evers said, adding that the lawmakers' actions "take us back to Nov. 6," before the election was finalized.

"Wisconsin should be embarrassed by this," Evers said.

He said he will talk to Walker as soon as the bills reach his desk and that if he cannot persuade the governor to veto the proposals, he will consider lawsuits and any other option "to make sure that this legislation does not get into practice."

The early morning votes were the height of a rare lame-duck legislative session. Walker has signaled his support for the bills. He has 10 days to sign the package after it's delivered to his office.

The session unfolded a month after Republicans were battered in the midterm election. They lost all statewide races amid strong Democratic turnout. But they retained legislative majorities thanks to what Democrats say are gerrymandered districts that tilt the map.

A Walker spokeswoman said the governor, who was in Washington for former President George H.W. Bush's funeral, would not have any public comment Wednesday.

The new legislation tries to protect some of the GOP's achievements in recent years, including a work requirement for some people receiving state health care and the state's role in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The bills could also make it harder for Evers to renegotiate a $3 billion subsidy for a Foxconn electronics manufacturing facility, a deal spearheaded by Walker.

In neighboring Michigan, Republicans who control the Legislature voted to advance a measure that strips campaign-finance oversight power from the next secretary of state, a Democrat. They also moved to give lawmakers authority to stand up for GOP-backed laws if they think the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general are not adequately defending the state's interests.

The Wisconsin legislation passed in a session marked by stops and starts as GOP leaders tried to muster enough votes in the Senate. That chamber ultimately approved the package 17-16, with just one Republican voting against it, around sunrise. The Assembly approved it on a 56-27 vote about two hours later, with a single Republican defecting.

In one concession, Republicans backed away from giving the Legislature the power to sidestep the attorney general and appoint their own attorney when state laws are challenged in court.

"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. after a seven-hour impasse. "This is embarrassing we're even here."

Walker is in his final five weeks as governor. Faced with a Democratic governor for the first time in eight years, Republicans came up with a package of lame-duck bills to preserve their priorities and make it harder for Evers to enact his.

"You're here because you don't want to give up power," Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said as debate concluded in that chamber. "You're sore losers. Does anybody think this is the right way to do business? If you vote for this, shame on you. You will go down in history as a disgrace."

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos countered that the bills would ensure a balance of power between the Legislature and the executive branch.

"We have allowed far too much authority to flow to the executive," Vos said. "To you, this is all about politics. To me, it's about the institution."

Vos last month cited the desire to protect key Republican achievements from being undone by Evers. Among them: a massive $3 billion subsidy to bring Foxconn, a key Apple Inc. supplier, to Wisconsin, along with thousands of jobs. Evers has said he would like to renegotiate the deal.

The legislation passed Wednesday would shield the state jobs agency from his control and allow the board to choose its leader until September, likely at least delaying Evers' ability to maneuver on the Foxconn subsidy.

The changes would also weaken the governor's ability to put in place rules that enact laws. 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 .

The attorney general's office could also be weakened by a proposal to require a legislative committee, rather than the attorney general, to sign off on withdrawing from federal lawsuits. That would stop Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul from fulfilling promises to withdraw Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit seeking repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They made opposition to that lawsuit a central part of both of their campaigns.

Judges could block the proposals if they become law by issuing temporary injunctions. Democrats would likely need a permanent injunction to stop the changes for good, but Republicans would almost certainly pursue appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservative justices.

The Legislature passed another measure to enact Medicaid work requirement rules that Walker recently won a federal waiver to establish. 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.

Rep. Todd Novak of Dodgeville, the only Republican in the Assembly to vote against the bills, said he did so after hearing from "an overwhelming number of voters" in his district who opposed the legislation.

"It is my job," Novak said, "to cast my vote in the interest of those whom I represent."

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Associated Press Writer Ivan Moreno contributed to this report.

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Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbauerAP .

News - Next governor will ask Walker to veto lame-duck legislation

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  • Omegacron

    Just say NO to lame ducks. Or stupid ducks. Or those funny-looking ducks with the crest on their heads.

  • Gargos

    "We have allowed far too much authority to flow to the executive," Vos
    said. "To you, this is all about politics. To me, it's about the
    institution."

    Really? Did you even ONCE speak up about Governor Walker having too much power during his tenure? Did ANY Republican for that matter?

    How can the entire public not see this for what it is? They tried the same thing in North Carolina and it was struck down. A waste of state resources for an illegal power grab by a bunch of sore losers who are losing relevancy by the day.

  • sixstrings

    how does the state constitution allow this?

  • sixstrings

    if the state constitution allows this, then the answer isn't a lawsuit, it's a constitutional convention.

  • ryanwiwb

    And right now "Fighting Bob" La Follette is spinning furiously in his grave.

  • Smedley D Butler

    Republican's are coming more and more to resemble the American Nazi Party.

  • clydealan

    Why do you vote for these people? Is winning so important you discard any pretense of principle and fair play; of democracy? What good are you as citizens?

  • mrphilbert

    The will of the people? What's that?

  • JuPMod

    Walker will sign them. Given who he is and how he ran his administration, there's no doubt he will sign these bills thus giving the middle finger to the new governor.

  • IT-Worker-Since-1990

    If the rules were fine when a R was in office, the same rules are fine when a D takes office. Republicans were not able to win at the ballot box so they are playing games and going against the will of the people. Just remember D can play dirty pool too.

  • ryanwiwb

    Maybe next time everyone will get out and vote. That's the only way to stop these guys/

  • BD70

    Elections have consequences. So stand down GOP.

  • Sal Monela

    Corrupt practices such as this are why voters are moving away from the GOP.

  • arriba65

    The Democrats ran on withdrawing from the anti-ACA law suit. People don't want their healthcare targeted that way. The GOP should let the Democrats withdraw from the lawsuit - it's a face-saving way out for them.

  • Bob Marley

    Outlier....a tad unhinged there are you? Lol

  • The Outlier

    BE WARNED: this is the tactic we will see the US Senate under Mitch McConnell use when Trump loses his reelection bid in 2020. The GOP has made it patently clear that they are intent on dismantling our democracy through malfeasance and dirty tricks. We CANNOT use the 'system' to fight people that are tearing down the 'system!' The GOP has NO right to expect its blatant abuses to be honored and protected by the voters they have disenfranchised by nullifying their votes.

    The GOP has proudly declared themselves the enemies of our constitution and saboteurs bent on our destruction. They have proudly declared that they will not adhere to the rules and norms of our democratic system of government. They have made it clear that they do not respect the will of voters. They have also made it very, very clear that they don't give a damn about protesters.

  • John Bishop

    How did Republicans become such sleaze that worship evil?

  • Former Earthling

    Dont understand why people keep voting for these GOP thugs.

  • tatanka

    Wisconsin voters have some serious house cleaning to do. How does it even get that bad?

  • Cagey-B

    Rep. Todd Novak of Dodgeville, the only Republican in the Assembly to vote against the bills, said he did so after hearing from "an overwhelming number of voters" in his district who opposed the legislation.
    _____________________________________________________
    What? A GOP legislator showing a shred of principle, an urge to actually do his job, and concern for the views of constituents?
    Somebody feel his forehead.

  • HomerIsBlind

    The GOP cares about one thing and one thing only; maintaining their power at any cost.

  • Taebok

    Democrats have to get it through their skulls that Republicans will do anything and everything to maintain their power and weaken power they are opposed to.
    And they should grow a pair and start responding in kind.

  • kritikosman

    Crooks afoot!! #GOP

  • ruelph

    The GOP in Wisconsin is trying to overturn the will of people, despicable!

  • B-K KnightRider

    And naturally Republicans are getting more pathetic.

  • Tyler U

    Someone needs to start a Change petition to Apple requesting that Foxconn (one of their key suppliers in the state) terminate their $3 billion deal with Governor Scott Walker and the State of Wisconsin, until either Walker vetoes the legislation, or until the Republican legislature do away with this ridiculous and clearly unconstitutional bill! If there is anyone who has stake in this, it's Apple Inc, one of the largest corporate entities in the United States.

  • Linzie Rogers

    Let them do it. Then the Dems can take it to the Supreme Court. If the court sides with the Repubs the people will be the ones that suffer. If the people are willing to suffer to spite the Dems then so be it. Elections have become about more than just gaining office. They are now about the survival of the main group or so it feels.
    With each passing year it will see that it has to have the numbers and such shenanigans as this can be done for just so many times.

  • ROBOTIX JONES

    The lesson here is clear: continue to vote against Republicans whenever possible.

  • chooch

    And the GOP wonders why there was a Blue Wave?

  • flnycus

    To hell with the country and its people. GOP or nothing.
    They need to be voted out of every single seat.

  • TexasVulcan

    The GOP doing what it can to hold onto power in the face of changing demographics.

  • DestinysNow

    No surprise here. This is exactly the reason that Dems should increase SC to 11 as soon as we control WH and Senate again. Repubs keep changing the rules, so Dems should do the same the moment we are in power.

  • GoldmanD

    State houses pass laws. It's up to the governor to enforce. If you don't like the laws, change the House

  • Ronald Bandor

    No shame.

    And to think I recently saw another poster complain the Dems cheat while "the GOP plays by Marquess of Queensberry
    rules". Lol. You cannot make this stuff up. I wonder what world some people live in.

  • OceanwalkSurfer

    North Carolina played this game for years. It took almost 100 years for a Republican to get elected governor and the Democratic legislature immediately passed laws stripping the governor of some of his powers. And since in those days, the governor did not have veto power, it worked. Now NC has a Dem governor and a Republican legislature, and the R's are playing the same game, although the governor now has veto power. Both parties play power games and try to the most power.

  • mik8888

    This is yet another example of the GOP mantra...Power At All Cost!"...

  • JZ.

    Communism at it's best. Another Red State in America. The new Republican Party.

  • anastasiabeaverhousen

    The politicians (in all 3 states) plotting this illicit thwarting of the will of the voters should all be impeached.

    The GOP is a dying party, desperate to hold onto power by whatever means necessary.

    Shame on them.