Michigan Republicans, succeeding the strategies of conservative lawmakers in Wisconsin, marched ahead to commence restricting the power of the approaching Democratic secretary of state and ready the stage for supplementary restraint on the Democrats who will succeed as the governor and attorney general in January. That measure is meant to stop Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, both Democrats, from following through on campaign promises to end Wisconsin's challenge to the federal healthcare law known as Obamacare. Republicans say the concept is not new, and voters recently showed their support for independent panels to be involved in elections by approving a redistricting ballot initiative.
Neither plan has been signed into law yet, and Democrats in both states say they are likely to mount legal challenges to what they have decried as GOP power grabs.
Democrats won the governor, attorney general and secretary of state's offices last month.
Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson ran on a platform of election transparency, so the legislature basically changed the rules so that that is no longer included in her job description. But since he lost his re-election bid to Democrat Tony Evers, Republicans have pushed the last-minute effort to shift some of that executive branch power to the Legislature.More news: Making It in San Diego: Local companies among nation's top employers
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The bills will next head to the state Senate. Legislative director Shelli Weisberg said the bills now would let people registering to vote in the two weeks before an election submit an affidavit if they do not have photo identification, which she referred to as "an important hurdle" that was addressed. Another bill could impact Gov. -elect Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel when they consider the state's positions on laws subject to legal challenges. Walker has already signaled general support for the legislation. On Tuesday, before the voting began, state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos set the stakes for his Republican colleagues: "We are going to have a very liberal governor", he said, "who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in". If that doesn't work Evers said he might sue. "This in an institutional bill created to ensure that the legislative branch has a voice".
"The Legislature makes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws", said Rep. Robert Wittenberg of Huntington Woods.
The Senate also approved measures to implement a voter-approved constitutional amendment that allows same-day voter registration, over criticism that the legislation could conflict with the voters' intent and should wait until after the frenetic lame-duck session. "Let's be clear: This legislation would have never been introduced, much less put on the agenda, had we seen different results in the top-of-the-ticket elections less than a month ago". One Republican notably broke ranks and also voted against it.
But the GOP sponsor, Sen.
The new legislation tries to protect some of the GOP's achievements in recent years, including a work requirement for some people receiving state health care and the state's role in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The legislation approved Wednesday would prescribe criteria for determining applicants' political affiliation.