The Massachusetts Senate voted to give Gov. Deval Patrick the authority to appoint an interim replacement for Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose death last month cost his party not only a leading voice pushing healthcare reform but also a crucial vote needed to get it passed.
Mass. Senate votes to give governor authority to name Kennedy replacement
The development makes it likely that the Democrats will have a 60th senator well before a special election that will be held in January or February for a permanent replacement, although a there are a few more steps before Patrick can send someone to Washington.
The Senate voted 24-16 in favor of the measure, passed last week by the House, but failed to muster a two-thirds majority required to tack on an emergency preamble making the measure effective immediately. Both chambers of the Legislature, called the Commonwealth Court, are expected to vote Sept. 23 to enact the bill, sending it to the governor. Patrick then would have to send a letter to the secretary of state declaring the measure an emergency law in order to bypass a customary 90-day period before new laws take effect.
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