By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Republican lawmakers in Madison are racing against the clock at the State Capitol.

As WCCO’S Pat Kessler reports, it’s a controversial move to strip power from the incoming Democratic governor before he takes the oath of office.

Protesters stormed the Wisconsin Capitol overnight, and packed an all-night committee hearing on bills they’re calling a “power grab.”

Ahead of the vote, Republican leaders say what they’re doing is perfectly legal.

“We do not believe that any one individual should be allowed to come in, and with the stroke of a pen, eliminate laws that have been passed by our legislature and found constitutional by our courts,” said Wisconsin House Speaker Rep. Robin Vos.

The package of Republican bills strips significant power from Democratic Gov.-elect, Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul. This includes new limits on early voting and protections for Voter ID.

It also moves the 2020 presidential primary to a GOP-friendly date. And forbids the state from dropping a lawsuit against Obamacare.

Democratic leaders say they’re prepared to take whatever legal action is necessary.

“Never before in the history of the state of Wisconsin has an extraordinary session been used to deny the will of the people and take away powers from a newly elected governor and a newly elected attorney general,” said Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor.

Wisconsin’s bare-knuckled political drama comes at the height of the holiday season, but Republican Gov. Scott Walker was booed at a Capitol Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Pat Kessler

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