MADISON - The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature has approved a sweeping package of bills weakening the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.
The state Assembly approved the lame-duck legislation Wednesday morning. The Senate did the same less than three hours earlier after lawmakers worked through most of the night.
The bills now go to outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled his support.
The measures would limit the governor's ability to promulgate administrative rules, which enact laws and give lawmakers the power to control appointees to the state economic development agency's board.
The measures would also require the attorney general to get legislative approval to withdraw from lawsuits. That move is designed to block Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers from allowing the incoming attorney general, Democrat Josh Kaul, to withdraw Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.
The measures also restrict early in-person voting to two weeks before an election.
The Wisconsin Senate also narrowly rejected a bill that would have created a state guarantee that people with pre-existing conditions can have access to health insurance.
Democrats say the measure provided inadequate coverage and would cause premiums to skyrocket.
The bill failed by one vote Wednesday during the lame-duck legislative session where Republicans are focused on measures designed to limit the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general. That measure is awaiting a final legislative vote in the state Assembly.
The pre-existing conditions measure failed after all 15 Democrats in the Senate and two Republicans voted against it. The measure had long been stalled in the Senate due to lack of GOP support.
Gov. Walker supported the measure, which became an issue in his failed re-election campaign. Walker lost to Democrat Tony Evers, a staunch supporter of the pre-existing coverage guarantee in the federal Affordable Care Act.
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