The Republican-led Michigan senate has voted to bar the incoming Democratic secretary of state from enforcing campaign finance law, one day after Republicans in Wisconsin similarly took action to restrict the power of newly elected Democrats. The 25-11 vote, which fell along party lines, was the latest salvo by Republicans seeking to capitalize on a lame-duck session before handing control of the state’s top elected offices to Democrats. The measure is among several that opponents say ignore voters who spoke loudly at the ballot box during the midterm elections last month, sweeping Democrats into the roles of governor, attorney general and secretary of state in Michigan. The GOP-controlled state legislature also rammed through bills to gut the $12-an-hour minimum wage and paid sick leave laws, which are pending approval from the outgoing Republican governor, Rick Snyder. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is poised to take over the governor’s mansion on 1 January and would veto the controversial Republican legislation.
Republicans in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Ohio are also under fire for taking action in the lame-duck period between the election and early 2019, when the incoming Democrats will take office, to undermine the powers of the new officeholders, especially in the areas of voting rights and gerrymandering.
The move in Michigan creates a bipartisan commission to regulate campaign finance, instead of that role being the purview of the Democratic secretary of state-elect, Jocelyn Benson.