Wisconsin Republicans are moving to strip the powers the state legislature gave Republican Gov. Scott Walker before the Democrat who defeated him takes office, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Last month, Walker lost to Democrat Tony Evers, who will take office in January. In response to the loss, Walker’s party has introduced a package of bills intended to remove some of the governor’s powers.
The bills would limit Evers’ power over rules used to implement state laws and restrict his ability to make changes to public benefits programs. Essentially the GOP wants to prevent Evers from changing or preventing laws passed by the Republican-controlled legislature.
"Maybe we made some mistakes giving too much power to Gov. Walker and I'd be open to looking at that to see if there are areas we should change that," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, said after the election.
"I view this as a repudiation of the last election. I will take any steps possible to assure the people of Wisconsin that I will not invalidate those votes," Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "And frankly, I'm encouraging citizens across the state of Wisconsin to help me in that effort."
Along with legislation to roll back gubernatorial power, the Republicans have introduced bills to restrict early voting, block Evers from withdrawing from a lawsuit seeking to dismantle Obamacare, and replace the attorney general with state-funded attorneys selected by Republican lawmakers in cases involving state laws in an attempt to protect Republican gerrymandering, which helped ensure their majority despite statewide losses.
Evers vows to fight back:
“I’ve said all along I’m committed to working across the aisle, but I will not tolerate attempts to violate our constitutional checks and balances and separation of powers by people who are desperate to cling to control,” Evers told the Milwaukee Independent.
“Enough is enough. Republicans have to stop putting politics before people. Wisconsinites demanded a change on November 6th. I stand with the people of Wisconsin, and we will be taking any steps necessary to prevent power-hungry politicians from overriding the will of the people,” he added.
“Everything’s on the table,” he told the Journal Sentinel when asked if he would consider taking legal action. "We’re exploring options — all of them. But we hope not to take them. We hope legislators will rethink their strategy."
Liberal activists launch protest: MoveOn.org’s Ben Wikler and allies organized a protest to “Pack the Capitol” Monday during a hearing on the legislation.
“In Wisconsin, right now, the GOP has total control: the governorship, both chambers of the state legislature, and a majority on the Supreme Court. That’s one big reason why Trump won WI in 2016—because they’d rigged the rules. Now they want to prevent Dems from unrigging them,” he wrote.