Republican majorities make changes as Democrats take over

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The last lame-duck session in Wisconsin was eight years ago, just before Walker took office, when Democrats tried unsuccessfully to approve union contracts. Walker, who has signaled support for the measures, later tweeted that he "can handle the shouts", but he urged protesters to "leave the kids alone". The party's power grab needs to be fully challenged in the courts, and the energy of the populace turned toward turning out the lawmakers who couldn't be bothered to pay attention when appeals to conscience were made.

"The changes included in this bill ... not only have the potential to compromise the integrity and efficacy of our entire election process, but also vastly increases the election costs", he said.

As Vos and others have said, they granted Walker an unprecedented degree of authority during his eight years in office.

Bob Kinosian, from Wauwatosa, Wis., holding up a sign during the state Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

"Our house!" after the order for police to clear the galleries. Spectators shouted "Shame!" and hurled complaints at senators, temporarily halting debate.

The same could happen with the current fight, said Brandon Scholz, a Republican strategist in Wisconsin.

Former Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle says the state's Legislature "is sinking to new depths" as Republicans attempt to weaken the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

Stung by their election loss in the governor's race last month, Republicans treated the lame-duck session as a final opportunity to use their political clout to weaken the next governor before time runs out.

The GOP-led Wisconsin legislature passed bills in the wee hours Wednesday that scale back the powers of Gov. -elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, both Democrats. "After years of voter suppression laws enacted by Republican legislators who were elected on their own gerrymandered lines, this partisan gamesmanship has reached a new low".

MARTI MIKKELSON, BYLINE: On Monday, Republican lawmakers were met by angry protests inside and outside of the Wisconsin state Capitol as they held a public hearing.

Another Republican proposal to move the 2020 presidential primary election from April to March appears to be dead.

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature has approved a sweeping package of bills weakening the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general. "How is it that you have more power when you lose?" Nygren said it was a positive step that would "bring us together to solve the problems of the state".

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During debate, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that law deserves protection and that Evers shouldn't be able to undo it with the stroke of a pen.

Evers, in his written remarks to the committee, said the Republicans' scheme "flies in the face of democratic institutions and the checks and balances that are meant to prevent power-hungry politicians from clinging to control when they do not get their way".

Another element of the bill would make it more hard for Evers to alter some GOP-backed laws, including Wisconsin's voter ID law. Those protests were massive and lasted weeks. That would make the bills available for both the Senate and Assembly to vote on Tuesday.

"This is a heck of a way to run a railroad", Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said ahead of the votes, as debate resumed at 5 a.m. One Senate Republican defected, while all Democrats voted against it.

Evers called the unusual lame-duck session "rancor and politics as usual".

Wisconsin Democrats railed against the proposals at Monday's hearing.

Republicans explained the moves to limit to the authority of the governor as part of a long-needed change in the balance of power, which they said had become tilted in favour of the executive branch.

The controversy mirrors what took place in North Carolina in 2016 after an incumbent Republican governor was defeated by a Democrat.

Another element would give lawmakers more power over the state's economic development agency, which Evers has said he would like to eliminate. And it would limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election, a restriction similar to what a federal judge ruled was unconstitutional.

The Wisconsin Legislature is preparing to vote on limiting the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

The legislation would also require legislative approval to withdraw from lawsuits, taking that away from the attorney general.

Opponents have said numerous changes will likely be challenged in court, a process that could create even more gridlock in state government next year.