Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Michigan Senate GOP votes to gut recently approved voting access expansion

Michigan Senate GOP votes to gut recently approved voting access expansion

That chamber ultimately approved the package 17-16, with one Republican, state Sen.

"The will of the people has officially been ignored by the Legislature", Evers said Wednesday.

Another provision would weaken the attorney general's office by requiring a legislative committee, rather than the attorney general, to sign off on withdrawing from federal lawsuits.

"I mean, most of these items are things (that) we never really had to kind of address because guess what - we trusted Scott Walker and the administration to be able to manage the back and forth with the Legislature".

It's the latest in the Michigan GOP's series of undemocratic attempts to gut new citizen-initiated laws approved by voters in November, and strip power from incoming Democrats.

The pre-existing conditions measure failed after all 15 Democrats in the Senate and two Republicans voted against it. Walker has signaled his support for the bills; on Thursday, a spokesman said Walker was still reviewing the legislation and gave no timetable for action. That move is created to block Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers from allowing the incoming attorney general, Democrat Josh Kaul, to withdraw Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.

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 action comes just weeks before Republican Gov. Scott Walker is replaced by Democrat Tony Evers. There could also be cases where legislators want to take the same side as the attorney general but make a different legal argument.

The bills also limit in-person early voting to two weeks before an election, and give the legislature ability to hire private attorneys.

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The legislation passed Wednesday would shield the state jobs agency from his control and allow the board to choose its leader until September, likely at least delaying Evers' ability to maneuver on the Foxconn subsidy.

The proposal up for a vote would weaken the governor's power to put in place administrative rules enacting state laws.

Also Wednesday, the House voted 58-50 for legislation that would empower the Legislature, House or Senate to intervene in any suit at any stage, a right already granted to the attorney general.

Democrats expect to challenge some of the bills in court.

The main bill was sent to the GOP-led House to be considered as early as next week, following a similar move to restrict the powers of incoming Democrats in neighboring Wisconsin.

Republicans pushed on Tuesday night into Wednesday through protests, internal disagreement and Democratic opposition. 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.

Both Evers and Kaul urged Republicans not to do it and warned of lawsuits that would bring more gridlock to Wisconsin when the new administration, and the first divided government in 10 years, takes over. Currently, each county has the power to decide their early voting terms, and many Democrat-dominated counties have a six-week period to vote early.

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