Legislation that would curtail the powers of the offices of governor and attorney general in Wisconsin are up for Senate and Assembly votes in a lame duck extraordinary session today, after an hours long and often raucous public hearing at the Capitol.
As Republicans move to push through a sweeping set of restrictions on the administration of incoming Governor Tony Evers, and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, Democrats like Representative Chris Taylor of Madison are calling out what they see as hypocrisy.
“We would not be here if Scott Walker was reelected. We would not be here if Brad Schimel was reelected. This is about not just consolidating power for the Republicans, they want to expand their power, even when they lose elections,” Taylor said.
Governor Scott Walker insists changes to the attorney general’s duties, which would allow the legislature to hire outside attorneys to represent the state in lawsuits, are not out of line. “There are many other states that have a whole variety of things where the legislature either has to approve or disapprove lawsuits,” Walker said. “Some states don’t even have elected attorney generals.”
Governor Scott Walker insists legislation dealing with the office of governor is does not taking power away from incoming Democrat Tony Evers. “There was some discussion early on about things related to vetoes or even vetoes to the administrative process, and I said I would never sign that,” Walker said. “To me, that would be taking powers away.”
A bill that would move the date of the state’s 2020 presidential primary did not pass out of the Joint Finance Committee following Monday’s hearing. County and municipal clerks had condemned the proposal to create a March primary, which would result statewide elections in February, March and April.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission voted 6-0 on Monday for a motion telling the Legislature that the proposed election law changes would be “extraordinarily difficult to accomplish.” It also said that “mandatory election tasks may not be feasible,” if the primary were moved.