The governor, wearing a Santa tie, appeared unfazed as he flipped the switch while one protester shouted "Hey Walker!" Traditionally Democrats and Republicans agree on time limits for debate, but Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said there was no agreement reached this time because the lame-duck session is "illegitimate" and an "absolutely terrible day for Wisconsin". The Assembly was expected to give final approval later Wednesday morning and send the measure to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled his support.
"The GOP, in Wisconsin and across the country, have made their preference clear: power first, democracy second, and the American people last", he said in a statement. Nygren said it was a positive step that would "bring us together to solve the problems of the state".
Republicans have controlled Wisconsin for eight years.
Bob Kinosian, from Wauwatosa, Wis., holding up a sign during the state Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.
Perkins Coie lawyer Marc Elias, who is one of the top Democratic election lawyers in the country, said the GOP legislature is trying to "hamstring democracy", and suggestion action on voting rights issues.
The Republicans do not have the moral high ground here, and they know it. Numerous same protesters who confronted him then returned to the Capitol on Tuesday - albeit in far fewer numbers. "Whether everyone here likes it or not, I respect the fact that Tony Evers is the governor and he's going to be starting on January 7", Vos said at a news conference.
Some hinted at filibusters or legal challenges and called the lame-duck session "illegitimate". The move is created to protect state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, who's up for re-election that April, from a Democratic wave.
Tony Evers, the incoming Democratic governor of Wisconsin, offered that pithy appraisal on Tuesday night of Republican efforts to limit his authority and that of the incoming attorney general, who is also a Democrat.
The Wisconsin Senate voted on the bill just before sunrise Wednesday, and the state Assembly passed it later in the morning.
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"The people aren't asking for this", Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor said. "You did not run on this". The measures are created to weaken both incoming Democratic Gov. -elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. "You rig the system when you win, and you rig the system when you lose".
Republicans defended their actions as meant to codify into law a more active role for the state's GOP-led legislature and creating a more balanced power dynamic with the governor's office.
"We're going to look back on this and it's going to be a stain on the Republican majority legacy and Scott Walker's legacy" said Sen.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters Tuesday that his constituents want him to protect everything the GOP has accomplished over the last eight years under Walker.
Both the state Assembly and the Senate approved the measures, which will protect the GOP's priorities while making it more hard for Evers to enact his. Those protests were massive and lasted weeks.
Assembly Democrats filibustered for 60 straight hours in 2011 in a vain attempt to stop Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining restrictions.
Republicans were poised Tuesday to complete their work much more quickly, even as Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz refused to agree on time limits for debate. But Evers called the unusual lame-duck session "rancor and politics as usual".
"Citizens in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina must make their voices heard". Michigan Republicans also are discussing taking action before a Democratic governor takes over there.
In addition to moving the primary date, the proposals would weaken the governor's ability to put in place rules that enact state laws and shield the state jobs agency from his control.
The measures also restrict early in-person voting to two weeks before an election. ABC News notes that it also weakens Kaul's position by requiring a legislative committee to sign off on withdrawing from federal lawsuits. That measure is meant to prevent Evers and the incoming Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul, from following through on their campaign promise to end Wisconsin's challenge to the federal Affordable Care Act. They made opposition to that lawsuit a central part of both of their campaigns.