A bill to eliminate special elections when there are vacancies in the U.S. Senate is in position for a vote in the Alabama House of Representatives next week. It comes in the wake of last year’s bruising battle to fill the seat Jeff Sessions left to become attorney general, won by Democrat Doug Jones. House Ways and Means General Fund Committee Chairman Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, said his bill to eliminate Senate special elections “has nothing to do with the personalities in last year’s election. It has everything to do with the cost to the General Fund.” Clouse said $11 million has been allocated to cover the cost of the three rounds of the special election to fill Sessions’ seat.
The bill won approval this week by the House Constitutions, Campaigns and Elections Committee, setting it up for a possible vote by the full House.
The bill would amend a law that led to some disagreement over interpretation when it came into play last year.
Under the current law, if a vacancy occurs in the U.S. Senate more than four months before the next general election, as happened with Sessions’ seat, the governor appoints a replacement and schedules a special election “forthwith.”