US & World

Wisconsin Lawmakers Vote To Limit Powers Of New Democratic Governor

GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin voted Wednesday to restrict the authority of incoming Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers.
GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin voted Wednesday to restrict the authority of incoming Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers.
Morry Gash/AP

The Republican-controlled state Legislature in Wisconsin has approved new limits on the power of Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers in a lame-duck session.

Following overnight debate, lawmakers voted Wednesday to restrict Evers from following through on a campaign promise to remove Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. The bill would also limit early voting in Wisconsin and give state lawmakers more power over the state's economic development agency, which Evers has said he would like to eliminate.

In the wee hours of the morning, the plan narrowly passed the state Senate, later the Assembly and now the bill moves to Gov. Scott Walker's desk for his signature.

During debate, Democrats decried the plan as an abuse of power.

"The seeds you're planting may grow into something you will regret," said Sen. Fred Risser, a Democrat from Madison. "Be fair. Give the voters the right to choose their governor and attorney general."

Walker lost to Evers by fewer than 30,000 votes out of more than 2 million cast. When Evers takes office in January, it will be the first time in eight years that Wisconsin has been run by a divided government.

"We're going to work with the governor-elect, but we're going to do it in a way that's balanced between the legislative and administrative level," said Republican Rep. John Nygren of Marinette during the debate.

Another element of the bill would make it more difficult for Evers to alter some GOP-backed laws, including Wisconsin's voter ID law.

Republicans, like state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, say Evers' liberal politics worry the party and that's why legislators are passing these bills.

"I'm concerned. I think that Gov.-elect Evers is going to bring a liberal agenda to Wisconsin," he said.

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