The state Senate on Tuesday endorsed a bill to require a special election for a U.S. Senate vacancy, as the law currently does for House vacancies, but it would allow the governor to appoint a temporary senator until the election occurs. Senate Bill 169, by Sen. Bradley Hamlett, D-Cascade, won approval on a 48-2 vote and will face a final Senate vote before heading to the House. In brief, here’s how the bill would work: If a vacancy occurs in the Senate, the Montana governor would immediately order a special election. The date of the election would vary depending when the vacancy occurred. It would allow the governor to make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy until special election occurs. The governor’s temporary appointee to the Senate would have to be from the same political party as the person who vacated the job.
“One vote means a lot,” Hamlett said, referring to the state’s vote in the Senate. “I think Montana needs a vote. It can be someone appointed until we elect someone.”
The Senate State Administration Committee earlier tabled SB73, by Sen. Tom Facey, D-Missoula, introduced for Secretary of State Linda McCulloch, the state’s chief election officer. It would have provided that U.S. Senate vacancies be filled by special elections, just as the state currently requires vacant House seats to be filled, but it didn’t allow for the governor to make a temporary appointment.
Full Article: Montana Senate passes bill for to fill U.S. Senate vacancies.