GOP leaders try to reach deal on lame-duck proposals, votes expected late

 Republican leaders have yet to reach an agreement regarding proposals they hope to pass during the lame-duck session. The Assembly has not convened yet. The lawmakers have been delayed since 1 p.m.

The Senate met briefly on and off to confirm more than 80 appointees by Governor Scott Walker. Some include two new members of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents.

Democrats argued on the floor they never had a public hearing and lawmakers didn’t have any time to review their backgrounds. Democrats said these are last minute appointments which add on to the proposals limiting the powers of the incoming governor and attorney general.

“It’s a laundry list of power grabs, Republican takeovers, and ideological wish lists that’s been put to an end because their agenda was rejected. It’s over,” said Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said their proposals are not power grabs but instead restore government to have equal branches. He said these measures have been talked about for months with Governor Walker.

“The system right now is heavily weighted toward the executive,” said Vos. “Having it done right now is not an ideal situation, I would have preferred to do it with Governor Walker in the spring because we already talked about these things, we already had that discussion. But knowing we didn’t have that opportunity, that’s why we’re doing it now.”

A series of measures in front of the Legislature includes reducing executive powers for Gov.-elect Tony Evers and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Part of those proposals would make sure appointments made by Evers can’t take over the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state’s job agency that Evers wants to eliminate.

Others include requiring health care officials to enact a federal waiver to require Medicaid recipients, who are childless adults, to work in order to receive benefits under the BadgerCare program. The bill would prevent Evers from withdrawing the waiver. Proposals that would affect the attorney general’s office would allow Republican legislative leaders to intervene in cases and hire their own attorneys. Another measure would allow a legislative committee to approve any action by the attorney general to withdraw from federal lawsuits.One of Josh Kaul’s campaign promises was to remove the state from a lawsuit which aims to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This proposal would prevent him from doing that.

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