Republicans in several states are attempting to rush through last-ditch laws that would take away power from Democratic governors. At the time time, they seek to pass lame-duck laws to advance their own right-wing agendas.
Braced for a new era of divided government, lame-duck Republicans who have long controlled two upper Midwest states are priming last-ditch laws to advance their conservative agenda or to weaken the influence of Democratic governors-elect: https://t.co/MS8vPrDiLr
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 18, 2018
In Michigan, for example, the GOP has held power for nearly eight years. The new governor and other state elected officials will all be Democrats next year. So Republican legislators are trying to water down a minimum wage law so that it would not go to voters.
In Wisconsin, Republicans are making a list of ways they can dilute the power of incoming Democratic governor Tony Evers. He will take over for GOP Governor Scott Walker in January.
And in North Carolina, Republicans are trying to finalize the details of a new voter identification constitutional amendment that would make it more difficult for minorities to vote. They are trying to rush through the bill before they lose their legislative supermajorities which give them the power to unilaterally override vetoes by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.
Republicans of course say they are playing fair. They defend their tactics and say that Democrats have done the same thing.
This is not strictly true, however, and some of the steps Republicans are taking will probably be challenged in court. Democratic critics say these underhanded maneuvers undermine the will of the people who voted for change in this year’s elections.
“It’s something that smacks every Michigan voter in the face and tells them that this Republican Party doesn’t care about their voice, their perspective,” House Democratic Leader Sam Singh said.
The GOP moves are taking place following midterm elections in which Democrats swept statewide offices in Michigan and Wisconsin for the first time in decades.
Due to gerrymandering, however, they were not able to take over the state legislatures. As a result, Republicans are able pass laws now to lock in new policies and Democrats will be unable to undo them until they take control of the legislatures.
Michigan’s new minimum wage and sick time laws are two things the GOP lawmakers plan to change before the new Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, takes over. Michigan’s minimum wages are the highest in the Midwest.
Wisconsin Republicans are considering several ways to protect laws enacted by Walker . Those include limiting Evers’ ability to make appointments, restricting his authority over the rule-making process and making it more difficult for him to block a work requirement for Medicaid recipients.
In North Carolina, GOP legislators are planning to use the lame-duck session to put in a new voter photo ID requirement and to consider other legislation that the Democratic governor would be powerless to stop right now. The have been attempting to reduce Cooper’s powers for two years, and he won a lawsuit challenging a law passed by Republicans that reduced his role in managing elections.
All over the country the pattern is clear. As duly-elected Democrats are ready to take power in state governments, Republicans currently in power are playing dirty and using every underhanded trick they can think of to stifle the will of the voters who put Democrats in office. This proves once again that Republicans do not truly believe in democracy, and are willing to do anything to undermine it, if it suits their needs and advances their right-wing agendas.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.