Michigan Republicans pushing bill that strips power from incoming Democratic secretary of state

Jocelyn Benson.

LANSING, Mich. - Bills advancing in Michigan’s Republican-controlled Legislature would strip power from the incoming Democratic secretary of state.

A state Senate panel voted 4-1, on party lines, Wednesday for bills to have a bipartisan commission oversee campaign finance instead of the secretary of state. Jocelyn Benson is poised to become the first Democratic secretary of state in 24 years when she takes office in January.

Democrats say the move is a bid to limit their power after an election in which they made gains, while other critics say the commission would deadlock and ensure lax enforcement. Republicans say the concept is not new, and voters recently showed their support for independent panels to be involved in elections by approving a redistricting ballot initiative.

The full Senate could vote later Wednesday.

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