Crossing the line separating Indiana and Illinois sometimes means dealing with different laws and customs. Readers are asked to share ideas for this weekly feature. This week: Lame ducks.
Republican lawmakers in Michigan and Wisconsin raised eyebrows last week by hastily enacting new statutes limiting the authority of incoming Democratic officeholders elected in November.
This seeming usurpation of the will of the voters was possible because legislators in those states, as well as Illinois, serve terms that run through Election Day and to the end of the year or beyond, including "lame duck" members who lost their re-election bids.
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As a result, a defeated partisan majority can convene the Legislature and change laws, appoint officials and take other actions to preserve its power, even though voters want the party out of office.
In Indiana, the terms of state lawmakers expire on Election Day, in effect preventing a lame duck majority from changing the rules after Hoosier voters have spoken.
However, a departing Indiana governor potentially could engage in partisan shenanigans by calling a friendly Legislature into special session in the eight weeks between the election and the end of his term