Lame-duck session divides local reps

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BELOIT - Area state legislators are weighing in on the extraordinary legislative session set this week in Madison.

Even the Beloit area's federal representative is speaking out against the hurried attempt to pass authority-restricting bills before Gov. Scott Walker hands over the office to Governor-elect Tony Evers next month.

Representative Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, called the lame duck session "absurd."

"The people of Wisconsin said loud and clear in November that they want balance and good government in this state," Spreitzer said. "Attacking the incoming Governor's authority before he is even sworn in is partisan politics at its very worst. Republicans need to stop putting politics before people and should work together with the incoming administration on the problems facing our state."

Representative Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, said some of the changes aimed at curbing gubernatorial powers were in line with the past two decades that saw the Legislature having "increasingly given up power to the executive branch and agency bureaucrats."

Loudenbeck was named vice chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee last week.

"We hear stories from our constituents about roadblocks they run into with agencies," Loudenbeck said. "Looking at some of the provisions being considered, the Legislature will be a more equal branch of government and have more say in the implementation of the bills we work so hard to pass."

Loudenbeck said she felt it was important to protect Republican legislative reforms by solidifying voter identification changes made in 2015, and protecting the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, something Evers has said he would consider dissolving.

"Since WEDC was created in 2011, WEDC awards have supported 66 projects and 5,466 projected jobs in Rock County and 30 projects and 881 projected jobs in Walworth County," Loudenbeck said. "There are a lot of items to be considered and I look forward to hearing what the public and my colleagues have to say over the next two days."

Representative Mark Pocan, D-Madison, called the Legislature's rushed process "shameful and undemocratic." Pocan previously served as the former co-chair on the JFC before heading to Congress.

"Republicans had eight years of the Scott Walker administration to enact laws if needed, but instead, they waited until the last minute of an exiting administration to make an unconstitutional push for more power...I know that fast-tracking these bills is not only wrong to do, but also shows how wrong the Republicans know these actions are. By rushing these bills, Republicans know they are attempting to deceive the people."

The Beloit Daily News was unable to reach Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville or Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, before presstime today.

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