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GOP lame-duck package debate stretches late into the night

Posted at 9:19 PM, Dec 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 23:11:45-05

The floor of the state Senate sat empty for the much of the evening Tuesday during the lame duck session called by GOP lawmakers. 

The Joint Finance Committee advanced a trio of bills to the Assembly and Senate this week, which both chambers were expected to vote on Tuesday night. 

As of 8:40 p.m., the Assembly hadn't yet gone to the floor. The floor session was expected to begin at 1:00 p.m. 

The Senate convened around 2:00 p.m., three hours late, and the public gallery was quickly emptied out by police after some members laughed and jeered in response to a comment from Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) implying Republicans are sore losers. 

The GOP-authored bills at the center of this lame duck session would shift duties and responsibilities from the Governor and Attorney General to lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate. 

Democrats call the proposals a power grab. 

Republicans argue the changes would better balance out state government. 

On Tuesday evening, GOP senators advanced one of the bills on a party-line vote. 

The proposal gives the legislative branch greater control over some of the actions of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Revenue. 

Republican staffers remained tight-lipped Tuesday evening about whether Senators would vote on the other lame duck bills. GOP Senators spent much of the evening behind closed doors in their caucus.