The people of Wisconsin voted for change, but Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation to obstruct the people’s will. The move to grab significant powers and duties of the incoming governor and attorney general attacks our democratic values and annuls our vote.
Working cooperatively across the aisle has been a hallmark of Wisconsin government and has served us well. Our votes should matter—not what those in power determine for us. Separation of powers is an essential part of democracy and built into the Constitution. Time will tell how all this plays out.
The power grab extends to how we vote—reducing early voting from six weeks to two. Reducing opportunities to vote disenfranchises voters, mainly those tending to vote Democratic. Gerrymandering gained Republican control of Wisconsin’s Legislature. Restrictive voting is a means to gain Republican control of statewide elections.
Basically, the measures proposed by Governor-Elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-Elect Josh Kaul as they ran for election would be prevented by the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the governor and attorney general to the Legislature.
The bill prevents Evers from accepting a Medicaid expansion. It puts into statute additional work requirements to get Medicaid care. A similar measure in Arkansas resulted in over 12,000 losing healthcare coverage, with unclear end results.
The lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act could not be dropped by Wisconsin as voters wanted. The Republican-dominated Legislature’s budget committee—not the governor—would get to decide whether to drop legal actions.
Ever’s proposal to renegotiate the deal with Foxconn, a $3 billion taxpayer subsidy, would be derailed.
Regulations protecting clean air and water could be more easily sidestepped as the role of experts and science is diminished in court hearings.
The state’s economic development agency, which Evers said he’d like to eliminate, will go under the control of the Legislature. The program can award large subsidies to corporations with no assurance of job creation.
The final approval of these and other transfers of power sit with Gov. Scott Walker and future litigation. The integrity of our vote matters.