Michigan Republicans introduce bills seeking to curtail powers of incoming Democrats

Republican state legislators in Michigan introduced a number of bills Thursday curtailing some powers of the state’s governor, attorney general and secretary of state after Democrats flipped all three offices in the midterm elections.

State Rep. Robert VerHeulen (R) introduced a bill that would give the state House of Representatives and Senate the ability to insert itself into any legal proceedings involving the state, which traditionally fell under the purview of the state attorney general or the governor’s office, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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State Sen. David Robertson (R) also introduced a bill that would give a six-person commission appointed by the governor oversight of campaign finance law, which is currently overseen by the Michigan secretary of state.

The panel members would be nominated by the state Republican and Democratic parties. 

State Democrats ripped the proposals, saying they go against the will of voters who ushered the newly elected Democrats into power. 

“Those legislators pushing this law should be reminded that the people elect their attorneys general and their governors and such a proposal — should it pass — would have a dramatic and disastrous impact on the state of Michigan and its residents for years to come,” Kelly Rossman, spokeswoman for Nessel’s transition team, told the Detroit Free Press. 

“Legislative Republicans are now trying to thwart the will of the voters with bills that ignore their voices, defies history and will make Michigan a national punch line by effectively ending enforcement of the campaign finance laws they are required to abide by,” Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson, echoed.

Republicans defended the effort as government reform efforts aimed at returning power to the legislature over the courts.

“More and more often, government policy is being debated in the courts. It makes sense for the elected representatives of the people to have a voice in the process,” Gideon D’Assandro, spokesman for Speaker of the state House Tom Leonard (R), said.

The bills were introduced in the Michigan’s lame-duck session, which could last two or three more weeks, and will die if they don’t get passed before the session ends.

They could be reintroduced when the government comes back, but Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer (D) would likely veto any such legislation.