Protesters flood Michigan capitol over move to limit power of newly elected Democrats

Michigan protests over alleged power grab

Last Updated Dec 12, 2018 7:08 PM EST

LANSING, Mich. — There were loud protests Wednesday in Michigan over what many say is a last-minute power grab by Republicans.

"I think that they are trying to take away our vote," one person told CBS News.

Demonstrators crowded the capitol Wednesday afternoon, opposing moves by GOP statehouse majorities to limit the authority of just-elected Democrats. Similar power plays in Wisconsin have faced the same reaction.

Both states have Republican governors for a few more weeks. They're being urged to sign a series of bills before incoming Democrats can veto them — all designed to give legislators greater say in things like campaign finance oversight, the timing of early voting and redistricting.

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Protesters crowd the Michigan capitol on Wed., Dec. 12, 2018. CBS News
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Protester holds a sign outside the Michigan capitol Wed., Dec. 12, 2018. CBS News

CBS News asked Michigan's retiring Gov. Rick Snyder if he thinks lame-duck lawmakers should try to put limits on incoming, duly elected office holders. He was non-committal.

"People should not expect that I'm just going to sign things or I'm just going to veto things," Snyder said.

Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer replaces Snyder on New Year's Day.

"They would not be doing this had the Republicans won the race for governor," Whitmer pointed out. "I think that they don't want me to be successful. They don't want to lose the chance to direct the agenda."

In Wisconsin, defeated Republican Gov. Scott Walker said the controversy was all "hype and hysteria," but state Rep. Robin Vos, a leading GOP legislator, said he simply didn't want incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to enact policies "in direct contrast to what many of us believe in."

In Michigan, Whitmer said this show of partisanship by the Republicans will keep the Democratic base energized for future elections. She said voters understand the meaning of sour grapes.

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  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.