Kentucky Legislature Votes to Sideline Governor in Senate Vacancy Appointments

The Kentucky state legislature approved a bill that would exclude the state’s Democrat governor from any participation in selecting a candidate to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate.

The change is taking place in the state where Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is 82 years old, resides.

In the event that there is a vacancy in the Senate from the state of Kentucky, the act mandates that a special election be held. The winner of the special election would be able to keep the seat for the term that had not yet expired.

“So it would be a direct voice of the people determining how the vacancy is filled,” Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said while presenting the bill to his colleagues.

After a brief discussion, the bill was sent to Gov. Andy Beshear (D) by the state Senate, which voted 34–3 in favor of the act.

The governor has claimed that the proposal is motivated by partisanship, however, when the state House of Representatives reconvenes for the final two days of this year’s session in the middle of April, they can override any potential veto that could be issued.

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House Majority Floor Leader Steven Rudy (R), is the primary sponsor of the bill.

In his statement, he asserted that the bill was not related to Mr. McConnell in any way, but rather reflected his long-standing policy position regarding the manner in which an empty Senate seat ought to be filled.

Mr. Rudy described Mr. McConnell as a “great friend and a political mentor,” and he gave credit to the senior senator of the state for playing a significant part in the ascension of the Republican Party to a dominant position in the Kentucky Legislature.

The majority leader has stated that his plan would treat a vacancy in the Senate in the same manner as a vacancy in a congressional or legislative seat in Kentucky, which would be to hold a special election.

The measure has a clause that is considered an emergency, which means that if it were to become law, it would go into effect immediately.

The plan was initially proposed by Mr. Rudy in February, and it was approved by a House committee the day after Mr. McConnell announced that he would step down from his record leadership role in the Senate in November.

As a result of the decision, there was much conjecture in his home state of Kentucky regarding the future of his seat.

Mr. McConnell, in his Senate floor address, kept the door open for the prospect that he would seek re-election in 2026, stating at one point: “I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.”

Mr. McConnell’s announcement, according to aides, was unrelated to his health.

A fall last year and two public incidents in which he froze while he was speaking contributed to the senator’s decision.

Mr. Rudy has stated that he has considered altering the Senate vacancy-filling process for over a decade, ever since former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted of offenses including attempting to sell an appointment to Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

Illinois shares a western Kentucky border with Rudy’s district. Mr. Beshear, who defeated a McConnell protege in a resounding reelection victory last November, had already witnessed his senatorial selection authority significantly erode at the hands of Republican lawmakers.

The legislature revoked the governor’s discretionary authority to replace a Senate vacancy temporarily in 2021.

This measure restricts the selection of a candidate by a governor to a three-item list compiled by party leaders affiliated with the senator who previously occupied the position.

The office of Gov. Andy Beshear did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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