Wisconsin lawsuit challenges Republican moves to curb incoming Democrat

FILE PHOTO: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers speaks at an election eve rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

(Reuters) – A coalition of left-leaning Wisconsin groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking to throw out several laws passed by the Republican-led legislature following the November election that weakened the powers of the newly elected Democratic governor.

The groups, including the state chapter of the League of Women Voters and other civil rights organizations, said the unusual lame-duck session was illegally convened, which would make any legislation approved during the session unlawful.

Outgoing Republican Governor Scott Walker signed the bills into law in mid-December, despite criticism from Democrats that the efforts were a last-minute power grab before Democrat Tony Evers, who defeated Walker, took office this month.

Republicans defended the moves, and similar maneuvers in Michigan and North Carolina, as good-faith efforts to ensure the legislative and executive branches remain equals.

The legislation would give lawmakers, rather than the attorney general, the power to decide whether to withdraw the state from lawsuits. That measure is aimed at preventing Evers and the Democratic incoming attorney general, Josh Kaul, from following through on campaign promises to end Wisconsin’s challenge to the federal Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

The lawsuit was filed in circuit court in Dane County, where the state capital of Madison is located.

Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Scott Malone

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