SORE LOSERS: GOP legislators in Wisconsin, Michigan move to limit power of incoming Govs, AGs

Dec 3, 2018

Alyssa Roberts, 202-454-4573,

Election night 2018 was a win for clean energy — nine different states elected governors who are committed to moving their states toward 100 percent clean energy.

But apparently Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan didn’t get the message. Legislators in both states are beginning lame duck sessions to limit power for their Governors-elect — a drastic move that ignores the will of the voters.

Lame duck legislators in Wisconsin are starting a new session today, attempting to undermine Wisconsin’s democracy with a series of unprecedented and radical bills meant to sabotage the state’s duly elected new leaders. These include measures to diminish the power of the attorney general, limit the role scientists play in environmental decisions, restrict voting rights, and reduce checks and balances.

One bill even contains extensive changes to agency rulemaking that will undermine core protections for Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers, air quality, and drinking water. This comes at a time when thousands of Wisconsinites can’t drink their tap water, lakes are filling with toxic green algae, and air quality is worsening. Governor-elect Tony Evers is ready to take on these issues, but outgoing lawmakers want to tie his hands.

In Michigan, lawmakers are considering proposals to limit the authority of Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer and other new statewide Democrats — including an effort to drastically alter enforcement of campaign finance laws. Another measure would undermine the power of the attorney general by allowing the legislature to intervene in court cases.

The lame duck lawmakers are likely taking their cues from North Carolina, where the GOP legislature attempted to limit the powers of incoming Democratic Governor Roy Cooper after his 2016 election. Those efforts ultimately failed — but not before some ended up on this year’s ballot and were resoundingly rejected by voters.

From Kerry Schumann, Wisconsin LCV executive director:

“The people of Wisconsin could not have made it clearer on Election Day: it is time for a change. This goes far beyond being sore losers. It’s wrong, it’s unfair, and it’s dangerous. These lawmakers are willing to completely redesign democracy in Wisconsin to undermine the will of the people, further line the pockets of illegal polluters, and attack our most fundamental civil right – the vote.”

From Lisa Wozniak, Michigan LCV executive director:

“The bills being pushed during this legislative session form a dangerous precedent. Together, they represent an unraveling of our democracy, a blatant disregard of the will of the people, and would sever the constitutionally-mandated separation of powers between our various branches of government. Michiganders should be outraged. What we are seeing in Lansing threatens democracy and the future of our Great Lakes State. We urge lawmakers and the Governor to reject these bills and relegate them where they belong: in the trash can.”

To speak with Schumann, Wozniak, or LCV’s state policy director Bill Holland, please contact