Republican lawmakers in Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina are taking steps to curb the power of incoming Democrats before the January transition, according to Newsweek.
In Michigan, Republicans will continue to operate as a majority in the state legislature thanks to heavily gerrymandered districts, but suffered losses in the gubernatorial election and in other top administrative positions. The GOP lawmakers are seeking to water down a popular bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage gradually to $12 an hour and would require employers to provide 40 to 72 hours of paid sick leave to employees. The GOP had approved the law before the election, but preemptively adopted it for the legislature rather than the electorate, make it easier to amend with simple majority votes.
“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,” Michigan House Democratic Leader Sam Singh told the Associated Press.
Michigan Republicans have defended the moves as an attempt “to keep the economy on track.”
In Wisconsin, GOP lawmakers are looking for ways to limit the powers of new governor-elect Tony Evers before he takes office. They are looking for ways to limit Evers’ ability to make appointments, reduce his authority in the legislative process, and make it more difficult for him to remove a work requirement for individuals seeking Medicaid benefits. They are also considering pushing back the date of the 2020 Wisconsin primary to favor a Walker-appointed Supreme Court Justice’s chances for election.
“We’re not going to retreat,” Wisconsin’s outgoing Republican Governor Scott Walker said. “The state of Wisconsin is not going to go backwards.”
In North Carolina, Republicans are looking to take a page from the Wisconsin Republican playbook and implement a voter photo ID requirement that critics argue is a means for voter suppression. The state legislature is also looking to push through bills while a Republican governor is sitting and before their legislative supermajority expires in January.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see quite a few things appearing on the agenda that none of us are aware of today,” North Carolina Senator Floyd McKissick, a Democrat, said earlier this month.
While the midterm elections did not offer the Democratic sweep that progressives and liberals were hoping for, Democrats were able to retake the House of Representatives at the national level and made significant gains at the state and local level during the election. Furthermore, Democrats had a decided advantage in total number of votes cast.