Wisconsin Gov.-elect Tony Evers said Sunday that he may take legal action to block Republicans’ lame-duck measures to limit his authority upon taking office, calling their effort “a mistake.”
“I’m not making any promises one way or the other, but we’re looking at all issues, all options on the table,” Evers (D) said in an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.” “I need to stand up for the people of Wisconsin. There’s 2.6 million people that voted in this last election, and they expect me to do that. So we’re going to pursue this.”
Evers said that he has urged Gov. Scott Walker (R) to veto the bills but that Walker was “noncommittal.” Walker has previously signaled support for the measures.
“It’s around Scott Walker’s legacy. He has the opportunity to change this and actually validate the will of the people that voted on Nov. 6. . . . The entire thing is a mess. It’s a hot mess,” Evers said.
The measures, which were passed by the Republican-led state legislature last week amid a wave of protests, would consolidate power in the legislative branch and strip it from Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.
The legislative package would also limit early voting, which has helped Democrats, and would take away from the governor the power to withdraw the state from a lawsuit, allowing lawmakers to make that decision instead. That proposal, critics say, is aimed at ensuring that Wisconsin remains part of a multistate Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans have argued that the lame-duck legislation is aimed at properly balancing the powers of the branches of government. But Evers suggested Sunday that the effort was a political power grab by Republicans.
“If Scott Walker had won this election — and he did not; I did — we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about this today,” Evers said, accusing Republicans of “trying to invalidate the will of the people.”
A similar effort is underway by GOP lawmakers in Michigan, where three Democrats — Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel and Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson — are set to take office in January.
The moves in both states have drawn comparisons to Republican efforts in North Carolina in 2016, when lawmakers pushed through legislation limiting the authority of the state’s Democratic governor-elect, triggering a legal battle that resulted in a loss for the Republicans.
In more than 20 tweets Saturday, Walker defended his legacy as governor, arguing that his efforts on the economy, education, health care and other issues leaves Wisconsin on a better footing than when he took office in 2011.