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Highlights of what Republican lame-duck bills would do



MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A sweeping series of proposals offered by Wisconsin Republican state lawmakers for a lame-duck legislative session would weaken the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, move a 2020 presidential primary date and much more.

Here are highlights of what the bills would do:

— Move the 2020 presidential primary from April to March, making it easier for a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice to win re-election.

— Limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election.

— Weaken powers of the attorney general’s office by allowing Republican legislative leaders to intervene in cases and hire their own attorneys. If lawmakers feel they represent the state’s best interests, they could push the attorney general aside.

— Give the Legislature’s budget committee, rather than the attorney general, the power to withdraw the state from lawsuits. That would prevent Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul from withdrawing Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit seeking repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act.

— Eliminate the attorney general’s solicitor general office. The office currently handles some of the highest profile, most political lawsuits.

— Institute a state-level guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions that would not go as far as the one currently in place under federal law.

— Ensure appointees by Democratic Gov-elect Tony Evers can’t control the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state’s quasi-private job-creation agency that Evers wants to reorganize.

— Require state health officials to implement a federal waiver allowing Wisconsin to require childless adults to work to receive health insurance through the BadgerCare Plus program. The legislation prevents Evers from seeking to withdraw the waiver request.

— Require Evers to get permission from the Legislature before he could ban guns in the state Capitol.

— Require all settlement money Kaul wins to go into the state’s general fund rather than into state Justice Department coffers.

— Reduce income tax rates next year to offset about $60 million in online sales taxes from out-of-state retailers.

— Require state agencies to file quarterly spending reports.

— Prohibit judges from giving greater weight to state agencies’ interpretations of laws in court challenges. That change could make it easier to win lawsuits challenging environmental regulations.

— Require the governor to get permission from the Legislature before asking for changes in programs run jointly by the state and federal governments, limiting the governor’s authority to run public benefits programs.

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