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National Briefing / Massachusetts

Interim senator bill advances

September 18, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

The state House of Representatives has approved a bill allowing Gov. Deval Patrick to make an interim appointment to the seat left vacant by the death of Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy last month.

The bill now moves to the state Senate, but it is unclear when that chamber might act.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, a Democrat, said the change is needed to ensure that Massachusetts continues to be represented by two senators until voters can choose a replacement in a January special election. Patrick, a Democrat and an ally of President Obama, also supports the change.

Republicans oppose the bill, accusing Democrats of hypocrisy for having changed the law in 2004 to prevent the then-governor, a Republican, from making such appointments.

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