A bill intended to save taxpayers the cost of another special election should a vacancy occur in the U.S. Senate, passed an Alabama House Committee Wednesday morning.
The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee approved HB17 by voice vote. If passed by the Legislature, the bill would allow the governor to appoint an temporary replacement to a vacant Senate seat, followed by an election that would coincide with the next general election occurring more than one year after the vacancy occurs. The state holds general elections every two years.
“What this bill simply does is set any U.S. Senate vacancies for regularly scheduled elections every two years,” the bill’s sponsor Ozark-Republican State Rep. Steve Clouse said before the Committee vote.
The bill would amend Section 36-9-7 of, and to repeal Section 10 36-9-8 of, the Code of Alabama 1975. Under current law, when a vacancy in the U.S. Senate occurs the governor appoints an interim replacement and then schedules a special election.
It comes in the wake of the 2017’s controversial scheduling of a special election after former Sen. Jeff Sessions vacated the seat to become U.S. attorney general.
HB17 now moves to the full House for further consideration.