Republican Governor Scott Walker will likely sign legislation on Friday that weakens the powers of incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers. The legislation passed on December 5th along party lines.
The bills are a package of last-minute legislation that weakens Evers’ powers. They also target newly elected Attorney General John Kaul. It prevents the pair from withdrawing the state from a lawsuit that challenges the Affordable Care Act. Both Evers and Kaul ran on a platform to withdraw from the multi-state lawsuit.
Democrats have denounced the lame-duck bills, as well as a similar group of measures in nearby Michigan. They have called the measures a last-minute power grab that undermines the elections last month, according to Reuters.
Evers’ election win marks the first time in eight years that Republicans haven’t had total control over the government in Wisconsin. Republicans have called the bills a good-faith effort to make sure that both branches of government remain equal.
However, it doesn’t look like the bills are actually meant to keep power equal. The laws would allow the legislative branch to sidestep the state attorney general’s office in lawsuits involving the state. Rather than using the AG for lawsuits, the legislature would be allowed to use another attorney.
Also, the bills stunt Evers’ ability to pass administrative rules. He would also be blocked from halting a provision that requires Medicaid recipients to work.
Evers and other Democrats have warned Walker that signing the bills will tarnish his legacy as Governor. Kaul also predicted many lawsuits challenging the bills if they are passed.
Scott Walker’s expected signing comes just one day after he announced an incentive package for Kimberley-Clark Corporation. The incentive would give $28 million to the corporation for keeping a plant in northeast Wisconsin. One of the bills he is expected to sign Friday prevents Evers from making a deal like that. Instead, it would require approval from the Legislature’s budget committee.
Walker’s office announced that he will take action on the bills on Friday at noon local time.