Wisconsin's GOP-led Legislature passes measures restricting power of its new Democratic governor

The measures are expected to be signed by outgoing Gov. Scott Walker.
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Republican legislators in Wisconsin pushed on through protests and opposition from Democratic colleagues to pass a raft of sweeping legislation that restricts early voting and limits the power of incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers.

Holding a lame duck session before GOP Gov. Scott Walker leaves office next month, Republican leaders passed a bill that Evers says would "override the will of the people" who voted him into office last month.

"Wisconsin has never seen anything like this," he said in a statement Wednesday. "Power-hungry politicians rushed through sweeping changes to our laws to expand their own power and override the will of the people of Wisconsin who asked for change on November 6th."

Both Evers and soon-to-be Attorney General Josh Kaul said that the ensuing lawsuits over the bill would bring the state government to gridlock, the Associated Press reports.

The measures passed by the GOP would shift responsibility for Wisconsin's involvement in federal lawsuits from the governor's office to the Legislature's budget committee, which would prevent Evers from withdrawing Wisconsin's challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

It would also give the Legislature more power to control appointees to Wisconsin's economic development agency board – a board that Evers had sought to disband.

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The bill also limits early voting to a two-week window before elections, which Democratic attorneys have already vowed to fight in the courts, arguing it's unconstitutional.

Republican Governor Scott Walker, who leaves office in January, has indicated he's willing to sign the bill into law.

Speaking on Monday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said his party was pushing the measure because they don't trust Evers.

As Esquire puts it, Fitzgerald is effectively saying that "only Republicans are allowed to govern."

The Democrats made significants gains in Wisconsin last month, winning a number of statewide races including for governor and Attorney General, but had less success in the Legislature, which commentators put down to a mixture of Republican gerrymandering and Democratic clustering in urban areas.

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