UPDATE: Wisconsin Senate limits governor's power

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Governor-Elect Tony Evers spoke to reporters Wednesday afternoon and says Republicans have overridden the will of voters in last month's election.

He says a handful of people desperately want to "cling to power."

"I'm very concerned that the 2.6 million people that voted and represent the rest of the people of Wisconsin did not have their voices heard because of the actions of the legislature of the past few days."

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate has 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 one Republican 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 board that runs the state economic development agency until Sept. 1.

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

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

Lawmakers were expected to vote early Wednesday morning on the proposal, after spending most of the night hammering out deals in private. The action comes just weeks before Republican Gov. Scott Walker is replaced by Democrat Tony Evers.

The proposal up for a vote would weaken the governor's power to put in place administrative rules enacting state laws. It would also allow the Legislature to sidestep the attorney general and hire private attorneys. The Legislature, not the governor, would have the majority of appointments on the state's economic development agency that Evers has said he wants to dismantle.

The power to withdraw Wisconsin from a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law would rest with a legislative committee, rather than the attorney general.

The proposal would also restrict early voting to no more than two weeks before an election.

The Wisconsin Senate has passed a bill in a lame-duck session to enact a Medicaid work requirement.

The bill approved late Tuesday night is part of a package of proposals being sought by Republicans before Gov. Scott Walker leaves office in five weeks.

The measure approved on a party-line vote would prevent incoming Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers from withdrawing a federal waiver request to implement the work requirement for able-bodied adults under age 50.

The proposal makes a host of other changes to Medicaid that more than two dozen health care providers, insurers and hospitals warned could have unintended consequences.

The bill also requires new legislative oversight of waiver requests related to health care made by the governor, a move Democrats decried as a power shift designed to handcuff the new administration.

The measure now heads to the Assembly, which was expected to pass it late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

A lame-duck legislative session in Wisconsin designed to weaken the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general is in limbo for now.

Both the state Assembly and Senate were scheduled to vote on a package of bills Tuesday that won committee approval late Monday.

But the Assembly had yet to convene seven hours after it was scheduled to start.

The Senate approved 82 appointments and one transportation-related bill, but Republicans broke for a caucus and showed no signs of emerging as of 8 p.m.

Democrats and opponents were hopeful the delays showed Republicans didn't have the votes to pass the most significant measures.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald shook his head "no" when asked during the break whether he had a deal.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate has voted to approve 82 appointees of outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker during a lame-duck legislative session.

The appointees were approved by a party-line vote, with Republicans in support and Democrats against.

Democratic senators objected, as did Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers in a letter submitted minutes before the Senate took up the appointments.

The appointees include naming Scott Beightol to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. The attorney replaces Bryan Steil, who resigned last week after winning election to Congress replacing retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Walker also appointed his top aide Ellen Nowak to a position on the state Public Service Commission, guaranteeing she'll have a job after he leaves office next month.

"The governor in the state of Wisconsin is one of the most powerful Executive government positions in the country," said WEAU Political Analyst, John Frank. "What they’re trying to do is make sure that they have just as much as an equal say with this new governor as possible."

Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly are branding a Republican lame-duck session as "illegitimate" and are eschewing debate limits, setting up a potential filibuster.

Republicans are expected to vote Tuesday on bills that would weaken Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz told reporters before lawmakers took the floor that the legislation is a power-grab that ignores the will of voters who elected Evers and Kaul.

Democrats and Republicans traditionally agree on time limits for debates, but Hintz said no agreement was reached for this debate. He says the session is "illegitimate" and there will be no rules. He declined to elaborate.

Assembly Democrats filibustered for 60 straight hours in 2011 in a vain attempt to stop Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining restrictions.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Eight former leaders of Wisconsin's economic development agency who served under both Republicans and Democrats are speaking out against changes proposed in a lame-duck legislative session.

The former directors issued a statement Tuesday as the Republican-controlled Legislature prepared to pass a proposal weakening the governor's control over the state economic development agency.

The proposal would give the majority party in the Legislature more appointments than the governor to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Two of the eight people who signed the statement were appointed by outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker. A third served under former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson.

The other five served under former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

Incoming Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers has said he wants to reorganize the job-creation agency.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's incoming Democratic attorney general is predicting multiple lawsuits challenging Republican lame-duck legislation limiting the powers of both his office and Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers.

Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul told reporters Tuesday that the legislation undermines the will of voters who elected him and Evers.

He says the legislation is "virtually certain" to generate lawsuits across multiple courts. He says the state will be mired in litigation next year.

The legislation would allow legislators to replace the attorney general with outside attorneys in cases, require lawmakers to sign off on settlements, send settlement dollars to the state general fund and prohibit the governor from authorizing the attorney general to withdraw from lawsuits.

Kaul says that's designed to prevent Evers from ordering him to withdraw from a multi-state lawsuit challenging federal health care laws.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Republicans are planning dramatic lame-duck votes in the state Legislature on a sweeping attempt to limit the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

Opponents decried the moves as a last-gasp power grab and an attempt to invalidate the election where Republican Gov. Scott Walker was defeated.

Once approved by the Legislature on Tuesday, the measures would head to Walker for his signature just five weeks before he is replaced by Democrat Tony Evers.

A Republican-controlled committee voted to approve the bills around midnight Monday, following a nine-hour public hearing where all but one person spoke against the measures.

A proposal to move the 2020 presidential primary election from April to March appears to be dead after the committee did not vote to advance it.