Michigan Republicans' effort to curb Democrats' power hits snag

By Joseph Ax (Reuters) - A Republican-backed bill in Michigan that would curb the authority of the incoming Democratic secretary of state appears dead, following weeks of intense criticism from Democrats who called the move a partisan power grab. It was one of a series of steps taken by Republican-dominated state legislatures in Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina after Democratic wins in last month's elections, which Republicans have said are intended to improve transparency and accountability.

Reuters December 20, 2018 02:07:04 IST
Michigan Republicans' effort to curb Democrats' power hits snag

Michigan Republicans effort to curb Democrats power hits snag

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) - A Republican-backed bill in Michigan that would curb the authority of the incoming Democratic secretary of state appears dead, following weeks of intense criticism from Democrats who called the move a partisan power grab.

It was one of a series of steps taken by Republican-dominated state legislatures in Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina after Democratic wins in last month's elections, which Republicans have said are intended to improve transparency and accountability.

A committee in Michigan's Republican-led House of Representatives did not list the legislation on its agenda for Wednesday's meeting, the final scheduled one of the year, and the committee's Republican leader told the Detroit News that the bill would not be considered.

The Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill earlier this month. It would take campaign finance oversight away from the secretary of state's office and hand it to a newly created bipartisan commission.

"This proposal would have effectively ended the enforcement of Michigan's campaign finance law," Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson said on Twitter.

Other bills that would strip power from Democrats remain in play, including one that would allow lawmakers to sidestep the attorney general. Democrats won the governor's, attorney general's and secretary of state's offices, ending eight years of complete Republican control of the state government.

In neighbouring Wisconsin, where Democrats also captured the governorship to break Republicans' hold on the capitol, outgoing Republican Governor Scott Walker last week signed a series of bills restricting the powers of incoming Democrats.

Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers has said he will consider filing a legal challenge to the legislation.

The moves are reminiscent of North Carolina, where Republican legislators in 2016 limited the powers of incoming Democratic governor Roy Cooper. Many of those laws have been challenged in court.

North Carolina Republicans have been trying to push through a voter identification law before January, when newly elected Democratic lawmakers will end their veto-proof supermajority. Cooper vetoed the bill last week, but the state Senate overrode his veto on Tuesday. The state House of Representatives was expected to do the same on Wednesday.

Democrats, too, have been accused of using their power in partisan ways. In New Jersey, the Democratic-controlled legislature proposed amending the state constitution to effectively allow gerrymandering, the process by which legislative districts are drawn to favour one party over another.

Lawmakers abandoned the proposal last week after criticism from Republicans, good government groups and Democratic Governor Phil Murphy.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.