Michigan’s Republican-dominated Legislature opened its lame-duck session last month amid claims that it was ready to take actions similar to what its counterparts in Wisconsin and North Carolina had done: Cripple Democratic opponents who had won crucial state posts and limit voters who had pushed policy changes.
The lawmakers adjourned on Friday, but they left their rivals less hobbled than many had expected.
By the end of a session marked by frequent protests, state lawmakers had passed bills that restricted the rule-making authority of the incoming Democratic administration led by Gretchen Whitmer, the governor-elect, and that prevented the disclosure of “dark money” donors who bankroll thinly veiled political campaigns by nonprofit advocacy groups.
On Thursday, they enacted two bills aimed at bolstering the Legislature’s authority — one that made it more difficult for voters to pass laws or constitutional amendments through ballot initiatives, and another that gave lawmakers the automatic right to intervene in any suit challenging a law or legislative action.
The latter move appeared aimed at reining in the power of Ms. Whitmer and the newly elected attorney general, Dana Nessel, also a Democrat, to manage state legal affairs without interference.
Earlier in the session, the Republican majority had moved to limit ballot initiatives, passing legislation that effectively gutted citizen campaigns to raise the minimum wage and expand paid sick leave.
Whether the Republican governor, Rick Snyder, who is leaving office, will sign all of the measures is a question. So far, Mr. Snyder has signed only the minimum-wage and sick-leave bills, as well as the measure limiting state regulatory authority.
Opponents have said they believe Mr. Snyder, who has cast himself as more interested in good policy than bare-knuckled politics, will veto some measures.
Many other contentious bills that once seemed likely to pass fell by the wayside during the two-week-plus session, deterred in part by throngs of demonstrators that spilled into the Capitol, often chanting slogans directed at the lawmakers.
“There’s been a ton of public pressure,” Shelli Weisberg, the legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, said. “People have been at committee hearings nonstop.”
Other measures were softened. Republican lawmakers stripped a provision from an education bill that would have created a state commission to usurp the power of the state Board of Education, which gained a Democratic majority in November’s election.
Over protesters’ objections, they enacted legislation to place restrictions on a ballot initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters last month that makes it easier for citizens to register and vote. But the restrictions, which primarily would limit where new voters could register, were eased in the Legislature’s final hours.
Republicans also dropped an attempt to shift campaign-finance oversight from the next secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, to a bipartisan commission whose members, critics said, would be perennially deadlocked on any issues.
A bill requiring a majority of trade union members to vote to recertify their representation every two years — targeting a core Democratic constituency that already had been significantly weakened under Republican rule — failed to clear the State Senate.
Democrats and even some Republicans said that the measures that did pass were, by Michigan standards, unusually partisan. But Wisconsin’s and North Carolina’s Republican-led Legislatures went far beyond Michigan in seeking to neuter Democrats.
Among many such changes in Wisconsin, for example, the legislators diluted the veto powers of Tony Evers, the Democratic governor-elect, and eliminated the solicitor general post in the attorney general’s office, hindering any efforts to challenge Republican-enacted laws. North Carolina’s Legislature spent part of its regular session seeking to sap the power of the Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, over judicial selection; in its lame-duck session, the lawmakers replaced a voter ID law that has been struck down as racially biased.
Michigan’s Democrats nevertheless say the state’s Republicans are following their colleagues’ leads. “It’s clear that this comes from a national playbook by the G.O.P.,” the Democratic leader in the State House, Sam Singh, said in an interview. “I think it will have long-term implications.”