North Central Wisconsin lawmakers respond after controversial special legislative session              

By Rose McBride, WJFW

WISCONSIN - People protested in Madison outside the Capitol, in the hallways, and in the chambers of the Senate this week.

They were hoping to convince the legislature to vote against bills that would limit the power of the incoming Democratic administration.

"I don't believe for one second Republicans would have voted to take away power from themselves," said Rep. Katrina Shankland, (D) Stevens Point.

Republicans claimed these bills have actually been on the table for a while, but Rep. Shankland says that isn't the case.

"I asked the Legislative Reference Bureau when these bills were drafted, and they were drafted two weeks after the election when Republicans lost every single statewide office," said Rep. Shankland.

Rep. Shankland said the bills increase GOP power and go against what the people of Wisconsin want because they elected Democrats to state offices.

"It is clear to me that they are being sore losers. If they really cared about limiting the executive branch and limiting the Attorney General then they would have done it within the eight years of total power that they had in state government," said Rep. Shankland.

Republicans don't disagree they wanted to put restrictions on the governor's office, but say the negative attention surrounding the session wasn't warranted.

"I think once you get under the headlines you see some really good stuff in this bill," said Sen. Tom Tiffany, (R) Minocqua.

Sen. Tiffany says one of those good things is giving the legislature power to pick the head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which Gov.-Elect Tony Evers has made clear he doesn't like.

"I think about right here in Rhinelander, Print Pack would probably be in Georgia if it wasn't for WEDC," said Sen. Tiffany.

Rhinelander Republican Representative Rob Swearingen says by limiting the power of the governor, the playing field is more even between both branches of government.

"If one branch has power over the other with a stroke of the pen, that doesn't say very much about co-equals so what we did was level the playing field back out," said Rep. Swearingen.

Both Sen. Tiffany and Rep. Swearingen say despite voting to take away some power, they are looking forward to working with Governor-Elect Evers in his coming term.