Republicans in Michigan's state legislature on Wednesday advanced a bill that would shift authority over campaign finance laws from newly elected Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to a new bipartisan committee. 

It's one of several changes being enacted by legislatures across the country controlled by Republicans in advance of Democrats in the states taking power. 


The legislation in Michigan was advanced by the state Senate Elections Committee, according to The Detroit News. The legislation will now go before the full Senate. Benson takes office in 2019.

The bill would shift oversight of the campaign finance laws from the secretary of state's office to a new "fair political practices committee."

The committee would consist of six members chosen by the state's new governor, Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat elected in November. Whitmer would choose three Republicans and three Democrats for the committee from lists drawn up by the Michigan Republican Party and the Michigan Democratic Party. 

Benson has previously denounced the proposal to strip her power, deriding it as a "hyper-partisan" move.

A spokesperson for her told The Detroit News that the law would “make Michigan a national punch line by effectively ending enforcement of the campaign finance laws they are required to abide by.”

Supporters of the panel told The Detroit News that the committee would be modeled on the Federal Election Commission. 

State Sen. Dave Robertson (R), a sponsor of the bill, vigorously defended the legislation on Wednesday. 

"We are attempting to put together a board here that would have to act in a bipartisan fashion,” Robertson told reporters.

The Detroit News said he laughed when asked if he was trying to strip power from an incoming Democratic office holder.

“We have heard a lot from the other side of the aisle over the last eight years over the need for bipartisanship — in all things. Here is a chance for them to embrace it,” Robertson replied.

Michigan is far from the only state where Republican-controlled legislatures are considering measures to curtail the power of Democrats who won midterm elections.

Wisconsin's state Senate on Wednesday approved several bills limiting the power of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, amid loud protests from Democrats.

In addition to the proposal regarding Benson's power over campaign finance laws, Republicans have advanced two proposals to limit the authority of the incoming Michigan attorney general. 

Outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has not said if he would sign the proposals.