Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature on Friday released a package of wide-ranging bill drafts that they plan to vote on in an extraordinary session next week.
That lame duck session is intended to put the measures in place before Democratic governor-elect Tony Evers and Democratic attorney general-elect Josh Kaul assume office, in order to restrict the powers of those offices.
The bills include legislation to move the date of the state’s 2020 presidential primary from April to March, and decrease the time in which local municipalities can allow early voting.
County and municipal clerks who oversee elections in Wisconsin have come out in opposition to moving the date of the presidential primary.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released a joint statement, said “The Legislature is the most representative branch in government and we will not stop being a strong voice for our constituents,” it read.
Another bill deals with the state Department of Justice. It eliminates the power of the attorney general to appoint a solicitor general and up to three deputy solicitors general, each of whom must be licensed to practice law in this state. The effect of the bill is to eliminate the Office of the Solicitor
General in the Department of Justice, which represents the state in certain cases on appeal in state and federal courts.
Other bills deal with federal funding for Department of Transportation projects, legislative oversight, and administrative rule making authority.
In a statement, state Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling called the sweeping proposed changes a Republican “temper tantrum.”
“Rather than protecting jobs, strengthening schools, and fixing our roads, Republicans want to undermine Governor-elect Evers before he takes the oath of office,” she said.
Public hearings on the bills could be held as soon as Monday, with the legislature voting on them on Tuesday.