It's not just Wisconsin, though their power grab is moving at lightning speed. Over in Michigan, a similar power grab is under way by Republicans in the state legislature who apparently resent Democrats taking over all three statewide offices -- Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. The fact that all three are women - Democratic women - is surely something that grates on those Republicans, too.
Detroit Free Press reports that Republicans have introduced a bill to weaken the state Attorney General's powers by allowing state legislators to intervene in any legal proceedings involving the state. Like, say, lawsuits about Obamacare subsidies, for example. It is as if Republicans have not quite gotten the memo about what message voters sent in November or something. For the record, it was basically this: Don't take our healthcare away or keep making it more expensive! That seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
Oh, and the reason for this overreach into the powers of the Attorney General comes as Republicans realize that the incoming administration will not tolerate the hate-driven antics of their Republican predecessors, including Dana Nessel's statements on the campaign trail that she would not defend legislation she views as unconstitutional, such as allowing some adoption agencies to refuse to work with same-sex couples because of their religious beliefs (a DeVos special, by the way). Nessel is the state's first LGBTQ woman to hold statewide office.
But wait, there's more. Republicans are also taking aim at campaign finance law, trying to shift oversight from the secretary of state to a commission appointed by the governor, populated by representatives of the state parties. Sort of like the deeply dysfunctional FEC on the federal level, which has no power because all decisions split right down party lines, allowing corrupt practices to move forward with impunity.
"Less than a month ago voters elected a military spouse, who is a nationally known election and campaign finance law expert, to administer Michigan elections. They voted for a fair, transparent, accountable and accessible democracy,” a spokesman for incoming Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “Legislative Republicans are now trying to thwart the will of the voters with bills that ignore their voices, defies history and will make Michigan a national punch line by effectively ending enforcement of the campaign finance laws they are required to abide by.”
Gideon D’Assandro, spokesman for the Republican Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, denied any ulterior motives (of course), claiming it's just "good government" to want to step outside of legislative limits and jump into the courts in contravention to the Attorney General.
“More and more often, government policy is being debated in the courts. It makes sense for the elected representatives of the people to have a voice in the process,” he said, as if the elected representatives of the people were not the three Democratic women about to hold the statewide offices of Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.
Make no mistake: Adoption agencies and other wedge issues aside, this is all about gerrymandering in 2020 when maps are redrawn. I'm pretty sure the legislatures would keep out of the wedge issues, but they'll be standing in line to defend their gerrymandered districts when they re-draw them. We can only hope that the 2020 election flips the state legislature too, but these measures are intended to leave power in the hands of those for whom the districts were drawn in 2010 -- Republicans.