Michigan G.O.P. Starts Limiting Power of Incoming Democratic Leaders
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Republicans, following the tactics of conservative lawmakers in Wisconsin, moved on Thursday to start limiting the power of the incoming Democratic secretary of state in addition to also set the stage for additional curbs on the Democrats who will take over as governor in addition to also attorney general in January.
The G.O.P.-led State Senate in Michigan, voting largely along party lines, passed a bill of which strips the incoming secretary of state of the authority to oversee campaign finance issues in addition to also hands the idea to a fresh bipartisan commission. some other bills, which are likely to be approved next week, include proposals of which would likely weaken the ability of the governor in addition to also attorney general to control the state’s position in court cases.
Using a similar political playbook as their counterparts in Wisconsin of which week, Michigan Republicans are responding to their Election Day chastening in top statewide races by trying to curb the power of leaders coming from the opposing party. The move has alarmed ethics watchdogs, who have called the idea a power grab, in addition to also has fueled protests among Democrats. yet the idea is actually unclear if Republicans would likely pay a political cost, given of which many are in safe districts.
A major difference between Wisconsin in addition to also Michigan, however, may be their Republican governors.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, who was denied a third term in November, is actually today weighing the bills to limit his successor, Tony Evers; Mr. Walker has not indicated how he will act, yet he has worked in concert for years with Republican legislative leaders there.
In Michigan, however, the outgoing governor, Rick Snyder, has long portrayed himself as a relatively pragmatic former businessman, rather than a hard-right ideologue like Mr. Walker. Michigan Democrats think their best chance of success lies with Mr. Snyder, who has, at times, broken with the most conservative members of his own party.
A spokesman for Mr. Snyder said Thursday of which the governor has not taken a position on any legislation yet, nor indicated whether he would likely sign the idea.
In November, Jocelyn Benson became the first Democrat to be elected Michigan’s secretary of state in more than 20 years. Gretchen Whitmer, a former member of the state legislature, was elected governor, in addition to also Dana Nessel is actually the attorney general-elect.
All three are women, while the Republican legislative leaders in addition to also outgoing governor in Michigan are men — a dynamic of which could be inside the spotlight next week, when Democratic-led protests are expected at the State Capitol.
“I reject of which incivility in addition to also discord,” Ms. Whitmer said in a statement Thursday. “of which legislation needlessly divides in addition to also won’t deliver results. the idea won’t clean up our water. the idea won’t improve literacy or fix the roads.”
Wisconsin Republicans also used their postelection lame-duck session to force through several proposals of which would likely limit the power of the incoming Democratic administration in addition to also limit early voting, which tends to benefit Democratic candidates. Republican leaders there argued of which the state had allowed too much authority to shift to the executive branch, despite acting after eight years of Republican control under Mr. Walker.
In Michigan, however, the proposed bills are even more wide-ranging. In addition to the ones aimed at incoming Democratic lawmakers, there is actually also a host of bills about conservative legislative priorities, including limits on benefits for union workers in addition to also the reduction of some environmental protections.
State Senator Dave Robertson, a Republican coming from Grand Blanc, Mich., rejected the accusation of which the moves were aimed at Democrats. When asked if he was trying to limit power coming from Democrats, Mr. Robertson laughed.
“of which has been discussed for quite some time,” Mr. Robertson told local reporters Wednesday evening. “in addition to also frankly, I’m capable of inspiration at any time — including today.” Mr. Robertson, who wrote the campaign finance bill of which passed the Michigan Senate Thursday, has himself been sanctioned for campaign finance violations.
The hardball political maneuvers, which critics have characterized as a subversion of democratic principles, are testing the limits of American partisanship, as lawmakers in one party try to enact 11th-hour proposals over heavy criticism. Mass protest action is actually being planned in Michigan for next week, when the majority of the bills will have their final votes before heading to the desk of Mr. Snyder.
“LAME DUCK WATCH,” read a T-shirt worn at the Capitol building by Sam Inglot, the deputy communications director coming from Progress Michigan, which is actually working to organize progressive groups to pressure lawmakers.
“the idea’s a last grasp at power,” said Christine Greig, the Democratic floor leader inside the Michigan House, in an interview. “the idea definitely makes you think of which they are sore losers in addition to also they just want to take their ball in addition to also go home with the idea.”
The challenge for Ms. Greig in addition to also groups like Progress Michigan is actually in getting Republican lawmakers to split coming from their own party. As in Wisconsin, the state legislators forging ahead with the controversial bills are not only Republicans, yet deep-red conservatives who represent tightly gerrymandered districts engineered to produce conservative results.
In Wisconsin, Democrats chose to engage in protests at the State Capitol building, packing the rotunda in addition to also chanting in committee hearings to shame Republicans into different action. Michigan Democrats, however, plan to try to persuade Mr. Snyder to take their side in addition to also stop the proposed bills coming from becoming law.
In a statement, a spokesman for Mr. Snyder said the governor would likely carefully examine the coming bills in addition to also take a nonpartisan approach.
“In of which case, where the authority of different branches of government is actually affected, he will look at the bills as if he were continuing as governor,” said the spokesman, Ari Adler. “He won’t look at the bills based on who is actually inside the governor’s office or which party they represent.”
Democratic leaders inside the state are hoping mass action could sway him to defy his party. Brandon Dillon, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, said Mr. Snyder’s decision is actually a legacy-defining one.
“The governor is actually going to have to make a decision on if he wants his legacy to be the same as someone like Scott Walker — or like someone who actually walks out of office with the proper respect for the office he occupies,” Mr. Dillon said. “The legislature is actually going to do what the legislature is actually going to do. yet of which is actually his decision to make.”
Two notable bills in Michigan have already emerged out of the lame duck session in addition to also are awaiting Mr. Snyder’s final decision.
One dramatically adjustments the state’s paid sick time law, producing the idea only applicable to companies with 50 or more employees in addition to also adding some other exemptions. Another slows a previously planned minimum wage hike, which was set to also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers.
Both measures were supposed to head to the November ballot for voters to consider, yet were removed after lawmakers passed laws identical to what the voters would likely approve. Then, after the election was over, Republican lawmakers reversed the bill’s original language, ensuring of which both measures would likely be decided in their favor without voter input.
At the Michigan Capitol building Thursday, several Republicans avoided or declined requests for interviews. Democrats said what they called cynical actions by Republicans have not only left them without much political recourse, yet personally stunned.
“the idea’s definitely disheartening,” said Nigel Tann, political director for not bad Jobs today, a Detroit-based group protesting the recent bills. “yet then again, anyone who has been in of which work has been feeling disheartened for a while today. We’re used to the idea.”