Wisconsin abolishes democracy, removes powers from state’s top elected officials
Reuters reports on the GOP power grab in Wisconsin.
The Republican-controlled state Senate in Wisconsin approved legislation on Wednesday that would weaken the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, voting in the early hours after debates that lasted through the night.
The state Assembly was expected to vote in favor of the measure later on Wednesday, after which it would go to current Republican Governor Scott Walker, who has indicated he would sign it. His successor, Democrat Tony Evers, has said he may mount a legal challenge to the measures.
Wisconsin’s lame-duck Republican-majority legislature called a rare post-election session this week to consider the proposals before Governor-elect Evers takes office in January and can exercise his veto power.
“This is a heck of a way to run a railroad,” Democratic senate minority leader Jennifer Shilling said as debate resumed at 5am. “This is embarrassing we’re even here.”
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. An amendment to do away with that provision was part of a Republican rewrite of the bill, made public around 4:30am after all-night negotiations.
Walker was booed and heckled during an afternoon Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the Capitol rotunda.
Despite the victories by Evers, Kaul and every other Democrat running for statewide office, Republicans maintained majority control in the legislature for the next two years. Democrats blamed partisan gerrymandering by Republicans for stacking the electoral map against them.
The move was orchestrated as one last “screw you” to the new governor, Democrat Tony Evers, by Governor Scott Walker, one of the most notorious lackeys to the “billionaire cash is free speech” crowd. Wisconsin is not the only state in which the GOP, which has rejected the fundamentals of representative democracy, is attempting to seize permanent power; similar though less draconian moves have been underway in Michigan.