Ef­fort to weaken gov­er­nors stirs de­bate

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - NATION+WORLD - — As­so­ci­ated Press

MIL­WAU­KEE >> If Democrats sue to pre­vent Repub­li­cans from di­lut­ing the pow­ers of newly elected gov­er­nors and at­tor­neys gen­eral in Wis­con­sin and Michi­gan, the law­suits will prob­a­bly cen­ter on one ques­tion: Are law­mak­ers usurp­ing au­thor­ity that be­longs to the ex­ec­u­tive branch?

The le­gal threat arose af­ter Repub­li­cans passed bills that would give law­mak­ers lever­age over ac­tions pre­vi­ous gov­er­nors and at­tor­neys gen­eral could carry out on their own. If the bills are signed by out­go­ing GOP Gov. Scott Walker, law­mak­ers will de­cide when the state can with­draw from law­suits, and the new Demo­cratic gover­nor will have to ask per­mis­sion to ad­just pro­grams that are run jointly with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, such as Med­i­caid.

“Sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers is an es­sen­tial part of over­all gov­er­nance and built into the con­sti­tu­tion,” said Caro­line Fredrick­son, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Con­sti­tu­tion So­ci­ety, a lib­eral le­gal or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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