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Wisconsin GOP seeking to manipulate democratic process with limits to Executive Power

Democratic state lawmakers pushed back on November 9 against efforts from Republican leaders to limit the power of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers before his inauguration.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, of Juneau, said earlier in the week GOP leaders are considering changes to state laws in a lame duck session. Those proposals include bills that would limit Evers’ ability to appoint people to certain state boards or make changes to rules related to Wisconsin’s voter ID law.

Democrats say that isn’t acceptable.

Speaking to reporters in Madison, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said it’s lawmakers job to work with whoever is elected.

“But when we’re going to go into a lame duck session and take away the governor’s ability to govern on certain things, it’s not getting off to a good start,” Erpenbach said.

Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, argue the changes are reasonable and will help promote a balance of power at the Capitol.

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, argued balance isn’t what the Republicans are concerned with.

“We’re here to advance the priorities of the people. The people have spoken. They have told us what we need to focus on, but it seems that Speaker Vos and the Majority Leader Fitzgerald are more concerned with consolidating their own power,” Taylor said.

Erpenbach and Taylor pointed out the changes, if passed, could be challenged in court. Limitations on executive power in North Carolina faced that fate last year.

“I think once they get in a room and try and figure out what they want to take away from Gov.-elect Evers, they won’t be able to stop themselves,” Erpenbach said.

Erpenbach also weighed in on a possible special session on a “Foxconn-style” incentives package for consumer products company Kimberly-Clark Corp. He said he hasn’t been approached by GOP lawmakers to earn his support on for the proposal, which has faced challenges getting enough Republican backing to pass the state Senate.

“We haven’t had any input on it,” Erpenbach said. “If (Sen. Fitzgerald) is seven votes short, he’s got a lot of work to do in his own caucus.”

The special session on Kimberly-Clark could be held later this month, Fitzgerald told reporters earlier in the week. A separate day, likely in December, would be scheduled to take up other changes, he said.

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MKE WI Public Radio

National Public Radio (NPR) is a civic service designed to enrich the quality of life for its listeners. Milwaukee Public Radio (WUWM) and Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) are each member stations and owned by the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and Madison. Both share regional broadcast programming and web content across the NPR network. This content is used with permission and attribution under the Creative Commons (CC) licensing.

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