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Jessie Opoien @jessieopie
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Good morning! It's a busy day in Wisconsin's beautiful state Capitol. So many things happening. For starters, @GovWalker will light this Christmas tree at noon. But wait! There's more!
Last night, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted to approve bills that would narrow Wisconsin's early voting window and strip away some powers from the executive branch and attorney general. Here's @katelynferral's story on the committee vote:…
Today, both the Assembly and Senate will be in to vote on those bills. Here's a story from @MollyBeck and @patrickdmarley previewing the day's votes, with reaction from @GovWalker and Gov-elect @Tony4WI:…
My @CapTimes colleague @katelynferral will be covering today's Assembly session, and I'll be in the Senate.
Incoming Wisconsin Attorney General @JoshKaulWI on GOP plans to strip powers from AG: "This legislation is an effort to undermine the results of the elections that we just had." Says if passed, it is "virtually certain to end up in litigation."
Incoming WI AG @JoshKaulWI on GOP bill that would allow WI to remain part of lawsuit to overturn ACA: "I ran saying I thought WI should withdraw from this lawsuit … What they’re doing is essentially making a debate that happened in the governor's race into a sham."
Incoming WI AG @JoshKaulWI says GOP bills would "slow down the functioning of the Department of Justice and … force us to waste resources."

"This is fiscally irresponsible and the process is reckless."
Incoming Wisconsin Attorney General @JoshKaulWI: "I would encourage @GovWalker to think hard about whether he really wants to make one of the defining parts of his legacy undermining the Democratic process we have here in Wisconsin."
Some protesters have gathered in the Capitol rotunda, where @GovWalker will soon light the Christmas tree. They’re not protesting the tree, they’re protesting the bills up for votes today.

Walker got some boos when he went to the podium.
As the youths say, it’s lit.
A youth choir is singing at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the rotunda.

Upstairs, a group of protesters is singing protest songs set to Christmas tunes.
As @GovWalker wraps the tree lighting, protesters shout: “Peaceful transition of power,” “Hey Walker, go home,” “Whose house? Our house,” etc.
Extra special thanks to journalism hero @JBeleckis, who sent pizzas to the WI Capitol press room. ❤️
Lotta focus on what GOP bills would do re: authority of Wisconsin's governor. Today Attorney General-elect @JoshKaulWI stopped by the press room to talk about what the bills would do re: his office:…
Gov.-elect @Tony4WI sent a letter to @GovWalker urging him to withdraw names he submitted for appointments, up for Senate vote today
The Senate is on the floor.

First up: @SenFrostman will be sworn in. He was elected a special election in June. He will be replaced by Sen.-elect André Jacque in January.
Although the Senate is on the floor, the only items on the online calendar at the moment are appointments from @GovWalker.
There’s @SenFrostman being sworn in.
Someone in the gallery interrupted the prayer at the beginning of the Senate session. @SenatorRoth reminding members of the public of rules.
.@SenShilling says Wisconsin Republicans are more concerned with clinging to power than they are with respecting the results of an election. Says WisGOP legacy will be "corruption" and "misplaced power grabs."
Senate Minority Leader @SenShilling: "Republicans need to stop putting politics and power over people and accept the election and incoming administration, and work, and listen, and lead together with Democrats to solve the problems facing our state."
After last outburst from gallery, @SenatorRoth warned another would result in the Senate gallery being cleared. Another occurred, now gallery being cleared as protesters yell “SHAME.”
.@SenFitzgerald, @JonErpenbach and @SenShilling are having a chat.
One protester has some sort of high-pitched whistle and is playing the "This is What Democracy Looks Like" tune on it.
.@JonErpenbach says it's ironic members of the public in the Senate gallery are being told they have to follow rules when some appointments are being considered without having had public hearings/statements of economic interest.
.@SenatorRoth: The Senate will reopen the gallery to allow the public back to the chambers. If there are one or two outbursts, individuals will be removed. If a third occurs, the gallery will be cleared again.
.@JonErpenbach says bills/efforts from @GovWalker + GOP lawmakers are like "stealing towels from a hotel room," trying to take whatever they can before Walker leaves.
The Wisconsin Senate voted 18-15 (party lines) to approve ~50 last-minute appointees from @GovWalker. Gov.-elect @Tony4WI asked Walker to pull the appointments so they could be vetted in the next legislative session.
.@SenFitzgerald moves to take up SB883, which deals w/ transportation projects, income tax rates and taxation of pass-through entities.
Aaaaaand one hour later, we're back, with an amendment to the bill removing a provision that would have prevented local governments from having their own employees work on state-funded transportation projects.
SB883 passes on party lines (18-15) with aforementioned amendment. Bill includes income tax adjustment, pass-through treatment, transportation measures:…

Senate is now recessing for partisan caucus.
We’re waiting on the Assembly and the Senate right now. Here’s my latest with @katelynferral on what’s happening in Wisconsin tonight:…
While we’re waiting here to find out what lawmakers are going to do, allow me to share with you @sbauerAP’s tie, which is bringing us holiday cheer tonight.
According to this fundraising email, @Tony4WI will be on CNN tonight.

Also, still nothing new to report from the Legislature.
Aaaaaand the Senate is back in session, folks.
WI Senate is on SB886, with a few amendments to consider. Here's the bill:…
One component of this bill would codify a work requirement for healthy, childless adults under 50 who receive health insurance through the state's BadgerCare program.
An amendment to the bill would require insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions if the ACA is overturned. Still reading through the specifics on this.
Clarification on my last tweet: the preexisting conditions amendment is for a different bill, not SB866 which is currently up.
About SB886, @VinehoutK says "there's good and bad."

This bill deals with Medicaid in Wisconsin. One thing it would do is codify a work requirement for childless adults under 50 who receive insurance through BadgerCare.
.@SenTaylor and other Democrats are asking to go to caucus to gain better understanding of the 40-some page bill.

They say they'll need "no more than 20 minutes." And we're in recess again.
A woman is shouting from the Senate gallery: "You should be ashamed of yourselves. You lost! Get over it."

Republicans did lose all 5 partisan constitutional offices on the ballot, plus one Assembly seat, but picked up a seat in the Senate.
It is 10:17 p.m. The Senate is returning, and the Assembly is just getting started.
Senate Minority Leader @SenShilling says SB866 (re: Medicaid) "continues to follow this path of handcuffing the incoming administration … at the hands of strengthening the Joint Finance Committee."
.@SenShilling deploys a phrase we've heard from more than a few lawmakers over the years: "I may have been born in the night, but not last night."
I wrote this story with @katelynferral four hours ago but it feels like it's been four decades…
.@JonErpenbach: "You’re messing with people’s lives when you’re messing with Medicaid."

"This is history. It's the wrong side of history."
SB886 (Medicaid policy changes, including work requirement for some Badgercare participants) passes Senate on 18-15 party-line vote.

The Assembly is taking up this bill down the hall.
SB886 has been messaged to the Assembly, which plans to vote on it next.

The Senate is now going back to caucus.
The Assembly has passed SB886 (the Medicaid one). The vote is 59-32.
Just spent several minutes refreshing the @CapTimes website trying to figure out why my story wasn't up. Turns out I set it to publish in the year 2030.
It's late (or early?) here in Wisconsin, and Republicans have passed legislation that would make a series of changes to Medicaid, including codifying a work requirement for some BadgerCare participants.…
1:41 a.m. Lively debate in the Senate chamber right now.

Just kidding, the Senate has been in recess for three hours as lawmakers meet privately to discuss the lame-duck bills.
2:11 a.m.: Time to make more coffee.
It’s 3:40 a.m. I have no news, but here’s a photo of the tree.
For some reason this song is stuck in my head now.
Hot off the copy machine, we have a copy of the amended bill the Senate plans to take up… soonish.
It's almost 5 a.m. and senators are returning to the floor…
We're back in action.

Senate Minority Leader @SenShilling: "This is embarrassing. It is embarrassing that we are even here."
.@SenShilling: "I want to register our opposition that we are in here at 5:00 in the morning and charging ahead."
Dem Sen. @JonErpenbach: “I’m not sure any of us can legally drive right now, we’re so tired.” Senate was scheduled to convene at 11 a.m. Lawmakers have been here a long time.
Dem @SenRisser: "I've been around here for a little while."

He was first elected to the Legislature in 1956.

"The Republicans this year are very poor losers … they're trying to undo what the voters have done."
The Senate just passed SB884 as amended, 17-16 (GOP Sen. Rob Cowles joined Dems in voting against). The bill curbs authority of Gov-elect @Tony4WI and AG-elect @JoshKaulWI and narrows the window for early voting in Wisconsin. Assembly will take it up next.
Senate is now taking up a bill on preexisting conditions. A few amendments to sort through here, including an effort from Democrats to accept the federal Medicaid expansion, among other things.
Dem proposal from @JonErpenbach would prevent discrimination from health insurers based on preexisting conditions, eliminate lifetime/annual caps, cover preventative services.
Dem @StateSenLaTonya: "There are times I really hate this job and think it really sucks, and today is one of them."
The sun will rise in Madison in 30 minutes. Seems like a good chance the Senate and Assembly will still be going.
Dem Minority Leader @SenShilling (paraphrased, it's been a long night/day): There's a new day, the sun will come up, and I hope we'll have an opportunity to work together on the real issues.
The Republicans' preexisting conditions bill was defeated on a 16-17 vote. @SenatorKapenga joined Dems in voting against it. He and @SenDaveCraig had introduced an amendment, which was rejected.
The Senate extraordinary session is adjourned… but the Assembly is still going.
After working through the night, Wisconsin Senate Republicans passed a bill to curb authority of incoming Dem governor, attorney general. Assembly is still debating.…
Assembly Minority Leader @GordonHintz: "You are undermining power of democratically elected officials … We know that the intent here was to take away that power … We're here because you don't trust @Tony4WI and you don't want to give up power. You're sore losers."
.@SpeakerVos: @Tony4WI is going to be the governor. It's important for us to say, believe and support … I can make one promise today: I am going to do everything in my power to make sure on Tony Evers' inaugural day there aren't protesters like there were on @ScottWalker's.
.@SpeakerVos on a column he recently read: "Even though it was in the @CapTimes, I still read it."
.@SpeakerVos is making an extended euchre analogy, which is a thing we will probably hear more of once @Tony4WI is inaugurated
Assembly passes SB884 (gov/AG/early voting/etc) 56-27.
I have broken free after spending the last 23.5 hours in this building. Just couldn’t follow through on a full 24.
Statement from WI Gov.-elect @Tony4WI on extraordinary session
After just shy of 24 hours in Wisconsin’s Capitol, I’ll be talking on @cheddar at 11:20 a.m. CST about the lame-duck session, which I wrote about here:…
WI Gov.-elect @Tony4WI: "The will of he people has been officially been ignored by the legislature … The people of Wisconsin expect from us as leaders in the legislature than to pit people against each other."
AG-elect @JoshKaulWI urges Wisconsinites to contact @GovWalker re: lame-duck bills: "This was literally done behind closed doors in the middle of the night. The people of Wisconsin deserve much better than this."
LG-elect @TheOtherMandela says lame-duck bills passed last night/early this morning are a "very dangerous way to govern." @GovWalker "still has the opportunity to say no and we’re calling on him to do the right thing."
Gov.-elect @Tony4WI says his focus right now is on getting Wisconsinites to contact @ScottWalker to convince him to veto lame-duck bill, but if he signs it: "if the next step needs to happen, all issues are on the table whether it’s litigation or other issues."
Gov.-elect @Tony4WI, asked about specific WEDC provisions in lame-duck bill: "I view this, what has passed, as frankly, a hot mess, and together all of it is, I think, dangerous precedent."
AG-elect @JoshKaulWI: "All four of us have been committed to working together with the legislature, we have talked about it repeatedly."
AG-elect @JoshKaulWI: "The AG’s role … is to defend the state in litigation even if the AG disagrees with a policy … but the Legislature has just ignored all that."
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