North Carolina GOP Legislature Sends Voter ID Law To Democratic Governor

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Over Democrats' objections, the Republican-led Michigan Senate has passed a bill that would guide the incoming secretary of state in creating an independent redistricting commission to draw congressional and legislative maps. Earlier this week the legislature passed a series of bills aimed at limiting the governor's power. The Republican-controlled Legislature approved the measures following overnight debate. Rather than respect the decisions of voters, these "lame duck" Republicans (the term for officials who have been voted out of office but still have time to serve before their replacements are sworn in) are using their last few weeks in office to make it harder for Democrats to enact change.

The Republican-controlled Legislature approved sweeping changes early Wednesday that weaken the governor's ability to make rules that enact laws.

Walker is getting bipartisan pressure to veto the measures, including from Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers (EE'-vers).

In one concession, Wisconsin Republicans backed away from giving the Legislature the power to sidestep the attorney general and appoint their own attorney when state laws are challenged in court.

Evers said he plans to make a personal appeal to his defeated rival to veto the legislation that would strip the new administration of some powers.

MI voters last month passed a constitutional amendment to have the 13-member commission of four Democrats, four Republicans and five independents handle redistricting instead of the partisan Legislature.

It's a move similar to that carried out by Republicans in North Carolina two years ago - and Republicans in MI are talking of similar action this week.

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For his part, Evers called the move a "desperate" attempt to "cling to control", accusing the Republicans of "putting politics before people".

The bill would limit the governor's ability to put in place administrative rules that enact laws and give the Legislature the power to control appointees to the board that runs the state economic development agency until September 1. "At no point did they say they wanted bills rushed through a hasty lame-duck session", said Patrick Schuh, state director for the liberal group America Votes. Walker has signaled his support for the bills; on Thursday, a spokesman said Walker was still reviewing the legislation and gave no timetable for action.

One of the new measures would limit early voting to a period of two weeks, a substantial cut for places like Milwaukee, where Democrats have a significant advantage over Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said the bill is needed because "we've been shut out" in recent cases.

Democrats won the governor, attorney general and secretary of state's offices last month.

The attorney general's office, meanwhile, wouldn't be allowed to withdraw from federal lawsuits. In North Carolina, where voters in November approved a voter ID constitutional amendment, Republicans said they were simply implementing the people's will. Eric Doster, a former long-time lawyer for the state GOP, testified that the commission would operate similarly to those in other states and said "now the time is right".

It was Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, not Walker, who was the driving force behind the bills.

The bills on Walker's desk would weaken the state's executive branch at precisely the time Democrats are set to reclaim it after almost a decade on the outs.

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