APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin governor-elect Tony Evers addressed members of an economic development group at the New North Summit in Appleton.
It's the Democrat's first stop in Northeast Wisconsin since the Republican-controlled legislature approved during a "lame-duck session" a package of bills that would curb the power of Evers and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul.
Evers on Thursday promised to fight to keep the authority of the governor's office intact.
Evers said his staff has been reaching out to outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker to urge him not to sign the bills into law.
"Obviously litigation is one, but we're hopeful that we can convince Governor Walker to make some adjustments and then we'll talk about what options are available after that," Evers said.
A spokesperson for Walker says the governor is reviewing the bills. Once the bills reach Walker's desk, he has 10 days to decide what to do.
Walker has said he supports the bills His office worked with Republican lawmakers to craft the legislation.
"My pitch to Governor Walker will be a couple of things, but most importantly it's part of his legacy that as he's walking out the door that he can, I believe, do the right thing for the people of Wisconsin and consider some vetoes," Evers says.
The bills give the Republican legislature control of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation board, which for eight years has been the duty of Walker.
The bills also limit in-person early voting to two weeks before an election, and give the legislature ability to hire private attorneys. That takes away the ability of the state's attorney general to defend Wisconsin during legal challenges.
The legislature says the bills were necessary to balance power between the executive and legislative branch. Critics say republicans are trying to grasp power after losing statewide elections to democrats.
State. Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) was the only Republican senator to oppose the bill limiting early voting. He released a statement Thursday explaining why he voted against it:
"I believe that these changes will have unforeseen impacts on businesses, property owners, outdoorsmen and women, and voters throughout Wisconsin," Cowles wrote.
Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will take office after an inauguration ceremony on Jan. 7.