Senate Passes Lame-Duck Bills in Predawn Hours


    Following all-night negotiations, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate passed a sweeping measure taking power away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, and reducing how long early voting can take place.

    The measure was approved on a 17-16 vote with all Democrats and Republican Rob Cowles voting against it. The Assembly was expected to give final approval later Wednesday morning and send the measure to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled his support.

    The bill would limit the governor’s ability to put in place administrative rules that enact laws and give the Legislature the power to control appointees to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation board. Governor-elect Tony Evers has said he would disband the WEDC and restore the state Department of Commerce.

    The legislation would also require legislative approval to withdraw from lawsuits, taking that away from the attorney general. Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul has said he would withdraw the state from a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

    One provision allowing lawmakers to replace the attorney general with their own attorneys was stricken following all-night negotiations among Republicans.

    Just past midnight, Republicans who control the Wisconsin Assembly passed a lame-duck bill enacting a Medicaid work requirement.

    Several more bills remain to be passed, including a measure to protect health insurance for people with preexisting conditions.