Mass. House Bill for Kennedy Seat Advances

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The Massachusetts House of Representatives has approved a bill allowing Gov. Deval Patrick to name an interim appointment to the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The approval could help Democrats regain a supermajority in the Senate.

The House voted 95-58 in favor of the bill Thursday evening.  The bill was immediately moved to the Senate and leaders called for a formal session at noon Friday.

Democrat House Speaker Robert DeLeo said the change is necessary to ensure the state continues to be represented by two senators until voters can choose a replacement in a Jan. 19 special election.

Governor Patrick also supports the change. Patrick is a Democrat and an ally of President Barack Obama.

The House's 16 Republicans opposed the measure.  They say that Democrats changed the succession law in 2004 to create a special election and block then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from naming a temporary replacement if Sen. John Kerry was elected president.

The Republicans feel that the law shouldn't be changed just because there is a Democrat now in the governor's office.

Kennedy passed away on Aug. 25 from brain cancer.

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