House Cmte approves bill authorizing gubernatorial appointments, eliminating special Senate elections

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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.

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