Michigan Republicans have also introduced legislation to strip some powers from the offices of the state attorney general and secretary of state, which were both captured by Democrats, along with the governorship in the November 6 elections.
Wisconsin Governor-elect Tony Evers, a Democrat, defeated Republican Scott Walker, a two-term governor during the midterm elections. It came as Republican lawmakers prepared to vote on lame-duck session measures to weaken powers of the incoming Democratic governor. The tumult was reminiscent of much larger demonstrations in the opening weeks of Walker's time as governor in 2011, when he effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers.
In addition to moving the primary date, the proposals would weaken the governor's ability to put in place rules that enact state laws and shield the state jobs agency from his control. "Be fair. Give the voters the right to choose their governor and attorney general".
The measures would also require the attorney general to get legislative approval to withdraw from lawsuits. That measure is meant to prevent Evers and the incoming Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul, from following through on their campaign promise to end Wisconsin's challenge to the federal Affordable Care Act.
"It's really an attack on our democratic values and structures", Michigan Democratic Representative Christine Greig, the next minority leader in the state House of Representatives, said. "I'm not sure what they're afraid of", Evers said. The measures are created to weaken both incoming Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission is warning state lawmakers that moving the state's 2020 presidential primary would be "extraordinarily hard". But Fitzgerald said Walker and his chief of staff had been deeply involved in crafting the measures. Put simply: the Republicans are sore losers.
The state Elections Commission unanimously adopted a motion Monday declaring that the shift would be "extraordinarily difficult" and costly without additional funding.
Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach calls the lame-duck session a "power grab".
Republicans planned to vote Tuesday on legislation that would limit Evers' powers as well as restrict incoming Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul. Similar limitations were found unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2016 and Democrats have threatened legal action again.
"We don't trust Tony Evers", Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told reporters on Monday.
The bills were released at the end of the work day on Friday, with a public hearing Monday and a vote scheduled for Tuesday.
The votes to pass the sweeping package of bills would come about a month before Evers is slated to take office.
The Wisconsin legislature's lame duck session has been making national headlines.
He is vowing to fight it, saying lawsuits are being explored, and called on the people of Wisconsin to contact their legislators even as the bills were speeding through. I can confidently say that the votes we took today are in good faith and do not usurp the role of Governor-Elect Evers or convolute the election and voting process. "This is embarrassing we're even here".
They made opposition to that lawsuit a central part of both of their campaigns and handcuffing their ability to get Wisconsin out of the case has fueled Democratic arguments that Republicans are trying to invalidate the will of voters.
The legislation passed in a session marked by stops and starts as GOP leaders tried to muster enough votes in the Senate. When Evers takes office in January, it will be the first time in eight years that Wisconsin has been run by a divided government.
Senate President Roger Roth, R-Appleton, took the unusual step after warning the crowd twice that Senate rules prohibited them from reacting to debate.
Taylor said that may include lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the measures, if they become law.
Also early Wednesday, the Senate rejected a bill that would have created a state guarantee that people with pre-existing conditions can have access to health insurance.
Walker downplayed the significance of the legislation's proposed changes and said the measures seek to keep in place the current friendly dynamic between the Republican governor and GOP-controlled Legislature.