Scott Walker Booed at Tree-Lighting Ceremony

Lame-duck legislative session has angered protesters
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 5, 2018 2:27 AM CST
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Bob Kinosian, from Wauwatosa, Wis., holds up a sign during the state Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in state Capitol Rotunda Tuesday Dec. 4, 2018, in Madison, Wis.   (Steve Apps)
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(Newser) – Demonstrators booed outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday during a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, a sign of tumult as Republicans in the Legislature met to push through measures to gut the powers of his Democratic successor. The Legislature met deep into the night Tuesday to pass a series of bills, first unveiled Friday, that would weaken the governor's office and transfer power away from the Democratic attorney general-elect and give it to the Legislature. Walker has signaled support, but he couldn't escape anger over the rare lame-duck session even during what is normally an upbeat holiday tradition, the AP reports. "If he wanted to put a stop to this, he could," Russ Hahn, a 53-year-old attorney, said of Walker. He was holding a sign that said "GOP Grinch Steals Democracy."

The governor appeared unfazed as he flipped the switch to light the Christmas tree while one protester shouted "Hey Walker! Go home!" He left without taking questions from reporters about the bills being considered in the legislative session. Stung by their election loss last month, Republicans treated the lame-duck session as a final opportunity to use their political clout to weaken the next governor before time runs out. Democrats, who won every statewide constitutional office after nearly a decade-long GOP hold on power, derided the session as a cynical attempt to preserve the party's waning strength. The GOP proposals would weaken Gov.-elect Tony Evers' ability to put in place rules that enact laws and shield the state jobs agency from his control. Republicans also want to limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election.

(Read more Wisconsin stories.)

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