Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee approved a sweeping series of bills to narrow the window for early voting and strip the executive branch of several powers, capping a day of heated public testimony and protests over the plans. The bills deal with a slew of policy issues, from transportation to taxes, but they are largely aimed at prohibiting Gov.-elect Tony Evers from rolling back several Walker administration policies.
The proposals are set to come to the Assembly and Senate floors Tuesday, where they will be voted on by lawmakers before being considered by outgoing Gov. Scott Walker.
Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who co-chairs the committee, said that of the 45 proposals the committee voted on, nearly half were considered by the Legislature previously or fortifies rules that already exist.
“Many of these proposals have already been vetted,” he said.
Nygren emphasized the bills were needed to “equalize power” and enforce the balance of each branch of state government.
“It’s my belief these measures move us in that direction,” he said. He noted that Republicans may have made mistakes in not enforcing balance between branches before November’s election.
“We realize that we are setting a precedent here and making change that are going to affect future Republican governors as well,” he said.
Democrats blasted the bills.
“Never before in the history of our state have we seen an extraordinary session that takes away powers of a newly elected governor to this extent,” said Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison.