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State GOP seek to strip power from incoming Dems

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan are seeking to strip the incoming Democratic leaders of key powers.

Posted: Dec 5, 2018 8:49 PM
Updated: Dec 5, 2018 8:53 PM

The Republican-led Wisconsin legislature approved two bills that would diminish the powers of the state's governor and executive branch after a Democrat was elected to that office in November, Britt Cudaback, spokesman for Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers, told CNN Wednesday morning.

The Assembly and Senate are considering a number of bills designed to effectively prevent Evers and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul from delivering on their campaign promises.

Both approved bills will now go to Republican Gov. Scott Walker for his consideration, Cudaback said.

The first bill, SB 886, would require permission from the state legislature before the state's executive branch could make waivers or changes to public assistance programs, including work- and drug-testing requirements for "able-bodied" adults.

It would prevent the state's department of health and the incoming governor from applying for a change/waiver to the program without getting legislative approval.

The second bill includes a measure that would eliminate the state's Department of Transportation's authority to transfer state and federal funding between highway programs.

If the lame-duck governor signs those bills and others still under debate, the state could reduce its number of early voting days, restrict gubernatorial appointments to a powerful economic agency and require legislative backing for certain decisions traditionally made by the attorney general and governor -- a move that would likely block Kaul from withdrawing the state from a federal lawsuit against Obamacare.

During the campaign, both Evers and Kaul took their Republican opponents to task over health care issues, in particular the state's participation in that legal challenge, which would end coverage protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Walker had promised to call a special legislative session to reimplement the rule on a statewide level, but questions lingered over how robust those new protections would be and the Democrats have credited their strong midterm showing in large part to the party's health care pledges.

Divided along party lines, the GOP-run state budget committee in Wisconsin acted overnight to advance many of the controversial measures after less than 12 hours of debate and amid growing protests in and around the capitol in Madison.

Before the committee vote, Evers, in prepared testimony, called the legislation and the process behind it "unfettered attempts to override and ignore what the people of Wisconsin asked for this November."

"This is rancor and politics as usual," Evers said. "It flies in the face of democratic institutions and the checks and balances that are intended to prevent power-hungry politicians from clinging to control when they do not get their way."

Walker denied on Monday that the moves were a partisan power grab.

"Much of what we did over the last eight years is work with the Legislature," he told reporters, "not at odds with the Legislature."

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican, has been more open about the partisan machinations in play.

"I don't have any problem highlighting that right now," Fitzgerald said on Monday. "I want people to understand that, that there's going to be a divide between the legislative and executive branch."

In a statement Tuesday, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post called the GOP lawmakers' actions "shameful."

"Just because Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan don't like the outcome of the election does not give them (the) right to put power over people and disregard the will of the voters," Post said. "After years of voter suppression laws enacted by Republican legislators who were elected on their own gerrymandered lines, this partisan gamesmanship has reached a new low."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67857

Reported Deaths: 2975
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14710719
Lake7037269
Elkhart458276
Allen3611157
St. Joseph311479
Hamilton2489104
Cass17509
Hendricks1742105
Vanderburgh170012
Johnson1648118
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Clark107545
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Marshall74222
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Dubois62412
Hancock61637
Jackson5514
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Greene23834
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Perry17112
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Fayette1547
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1442
Carroll1422
Wells1312
Knox1290
Huntington1183
Washington1151
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Randolph1024
Clay975
Jay820
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Rush794
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Sullivan751
Pulaski711
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio504
Parke451
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Switzerland430
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Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93031

Reported Deaths: 3529
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17107514
Cuyahoga12646477
Hamilton9110247
Lucas4852318
Montgomery402477
Summit3248217
Marion287544
Butler268359
Mahoning2393253
Pickaway235242
Stark1679132
Lorain162076
Warren160035
Columbiana157060
Trumbull1421103
Fairfield123825
Delaware119418
Licking111642
Clark107613
Lake103435
Wood91058
Clermont83510
Medina83133
Miami76837
Tuscarawas74613
Portage71160
Allen64642
Greene61911
Belmont58926
Ashtabula53845
Richland53610
Geauga52843
Mercer52213
Erie51627
Wayne49258
Ross3874
Huron3714
Ottawa35225
Athens3441
Madison32910
Sandusky32917
Holmes3206
Darke31627
Hancock3152
Lawrence2160
Union2141
Auglaize2135
Jefferson2043
Washington19722
Putnam19317
Coshocton1856
Scioto1851
Muskingum1781
Knox1652
Crawford1645
Preble1642
Morrow1582
Shelby1574
Seneca1533
Hardin15012
Clinton1466
Fulton1391
Ashland1303
Defiance1294
Highland1271
Williams1233
Logan1201
Wyandot1195
Brown1121
Guernsey1106
Hocking1089
Carroll1075
Henry1061
Champaign1051
Perry1052
Fayette940
Monroe9018
Van Wert681
Pike660
Jackson650
Paulding590
Gallia571
Adams532
Vinton302
Meigs240
Morgan200
Harrison191
Noble160
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