Michigan voters elected Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, as their next Governor, Dana Nessel, also a Democrat, as their next Attorney General, and Jocelyn Benson, also a Democrat, as their next Secretary of State. However, Republicans retained majority control of both the State Senate and State House. And while Gretchen Whitmer will move into the Governor’s house in January, Republican Rick Snyder is still the Governor for the next few weeks. So, naturally, Republicans in Michigan’s State Senate and House are calling a lame-duck session of the State legislature in order to pass new limits on the power of the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State, limits that were not in place when Republican Rick Snyder was Governor, Republican Bill Schutte was Attorney General, and Republican Ruth Johnson was Secretary of State.
With Democrats set to take over top statewide offices next year, Michigan Republicans are considering proposals that would allow the Legislature to intervene in legal battles and shift oversight of the state’s campaign finance law to a new commission.
The lame-duck power plays would limit the power of Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Democrats have not held all three posts since 1990.
A House bill introduced Thursday by state Rep. Rob VerHeulen, R-Walker, and quickly praised by Republican leaders seeks to guarantee the GOP-led Legislature could intervene in legal battles involving state laws that Democrats may be hesitant to defend.
A separate proposal from Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, would shift oversight of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act from the Secretary of State’s Office to a newly proposed “fair political practices commission.”
This is similar to moves being made by Wisconsin Republicans, who are also attempting to limit the power of the Governor and Attorney General after Democrats were elected:
Republican lawmakers plan to hold a lame-duck session as early as next week to curb the incoming Democratic governor’s powers over state rules, add GOP appointees to a state board, and possibly move the 2020 presidential primary to help a conservative state Supreme Court justice.
Republicans are also looking at changing the landscape at the state Department of Justice before Democrat Josh Kaul replaces GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel, including eliminating or scaling back the solicitor general’s office.
When Republicans complain about a lack of civility in politics, they should look in the mirror. If Republicans are going to repeatedly cheat to win, then refuse to act in a bipartisan fashion when they lose, just how do they expect there to be civility in politics?