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The Boston Globe reports today that the MA Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is pressing hard – “for Teddy!” – to get the state legislature to undo a law they put into place on Senate vacancies back in 2004 when the Governor was a Republican:
Governor Deval Patrick continued today to press for a change to state law to allow him to appoint an interim replacement for Senator Edward M. Kennedy as he announced that a special election for the seat will be held on Jan. 19.
At a press conference carried live nationally on CSPAN, Patrick told reporters that he has discussed the potential change in law with state legislative leaders “numerous times over the last several days” and they are “moving as fast as they can.” A legislative committee announced earlier today that it will hold a hearing next week on a bill that would allow Patrick to appoint a temporary replacement, a signal that Beacon Hill is moving to accommodate Kennedy’s request that Massachusetts maintain two voices in the Senate.
“I think they are trying to work their way through it and they are talking to their members and listening to their members. I don’t think by any means it is a certainty that it will happen, at least in my conversations with them,” Patrick said, referring to legislative leaders. “I think that they are trying to find a path from here to there to honor, as I say, the very reasonable request of Senator Kennedy.”
State statute calls for an election to be held on a Tuesday between 145 and 160 days after a vacancy occurs, which gave Patrick just two potential dates, Jan. 19 or Jan. 26. The governor said today that he did his best to select a date that would lessen the impact on the holidays between the primary and general election.
“It seemed to me that would be by having the earlier primary,” Patrick said.
The chairmen of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Election Laws announced earlier today they have moved the hearing date from early October to Sept. 9 for a bill that would allow Patrick to appoint an interim senator. The House and Senate, which are in summer recess, do not return in full formal session until next week. The bill could come to the floor of both the House and Senate within days after the hearing.
”One of the senator’s last public acts was a request that the Legislature explore ways to amend state law so the Commonwealth will not lose a voice in the United States Senate pending the filling of the seat with a special election,” said state Senator Thomas P. Kennedy, a Brockton Democrat, the Senate chairman of the election laws committee. (He is not related to Edward Kennedy.)
The move to change the date of the hearing comes as lawmakers continue to wrestle with the controversial issue of allowing Patrick to make the temporary appointment. Democrats, including US Senate majority leader Harry Reid, argue that Massachusetts should be fully represented with two votes in the Senate when such issues as health care reform and climate change come up this fall.
Ummm … I have a better idea. Why not just wait until after the “special election” to have a vote on these “important bills”? That way, instead of shoving cap and trade and ObamaCare down the throats of the American people, there would be real opportunity there for – gasp! – debate, or maybe even a scrapping of these bills in order to start fresh with a clean slate.
Oh, that’s right. I almost forgot who I was talking about here: Democrats, who have demonstrated time and time again that their stated desires – announced prior to the 2006 elections – to “act in the spirit of bipartisanship” and to “have an open and honest dialogue with the American people, were nothing more than a crock of you-know-what.
So with that in mind, let’s place bets on 1) how long it will take before the MA legislature gives the Governor’s house its power back and 2) who he’ll choose.
BTW, contra to earlier reports swirling in the MA media, Ted Kennedy’s wife Vicki is not interested in filling the seat. Gov. Patrick stated today that he wasn’t either, because he’s running for reelection next year, which could be problematic for him if his ratings continue to tank.
Related: MA blogger and Boston Herald editor Jules Crittenden slams liberal icon Glenn Greenwald’s Salon piece on “royalty” in the United States because he didn’t mention one thing about the “Camelot Kennedys,” in spite of all the coverage Senator Kennedy’s death and funeral received last week. Must-read!