Submitted By Todd on August 20th at 11:21am
The Boston Globe reported late Wednesday evening that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) has privately asked Governor Deval Patrick, state Senate President Therese Murray, and state House Speaker Robert DeLeo to change the Massachusetts succession law so that the state will not be without a vote in the Senate if his seat becomes vacant.Kennedy, who is dying of brain cancer, has devoted much of his senate career toward pushing for the type of health care reform now championed by Obama. But if he resigns or dies in advance of it's passage, under current Massachusetts law, his vote would be lost until a special election could be held to replace him.
“I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator,’’ Kennedy wrote. “I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election.’’So Kennedy, presumably at the urging of Obama, is asking that the law be changed to allow a temporary senator to be appointed.
A change in the law to allow Patrick a temporary appointment would give Senate Democrats an additional vote that they may need to pass President Barack Obama’s health care reform. Without the change, under the succession law Massachusetts lawmakers passed in 2004, the seat could remain vacant for as long as five months until a special election.The Massachusetts Legislature, overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, isn't averse to manipulating the law to meet its political goals. Five years ago, it switched from allowing the Governor to fill senate vacancies by appointment to the current system that Kennedy wants to alter.
That succession law had a political design of its own: the Democratic-controlled legislature wanted to deny Republican Mitt Romney, then governor, the opportunity to appoint a Republican to Kerry’s Senate seat in the event he won the presidency.The Good Government Party sure does seem to enjoy crawling around in the sewer.