Wisconsin lawmakers worked overtime Wednesday on a package of bills designed to limit the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.
The Senate and Assembly passed legislation Wednesday morning limiting the powers of incoming Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul. The legislation now goes to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
The measures drew sharp reaction from Democratic lawmakers who called the move a power grab in advance of a Democrat gaining power over the executive branch after eight years of GOP control in Madison.
“We were sent to Madison to represent the people, not undermine their will,” Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, said Wednesday. “It is unfortunate that instead of respecting the prerogative of Wisconsin voters, Madison Republicans are serving themselves by gutting checks and balances and consolidating their own power.”
Despite advantages in both the Assembly and Senate, the Republican effort to pass some of the controversial changes hasn't been easy. A plan to move the 2020 presidential primary was set aside. A Medicaid work requirement was passed shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Public opposition was prevalent throughout the process.
A loud crowd booed Walker and shouted protests as he threw the switch to light the state Christmas tree Tuesday. Protesters held signs opposing the lame-duck session held by lawmakers to weaken the powers of incoming Gov. Tony Evers. A high school choir singing Christmas carols was drowned out by protesters singing anti-Walker songs.