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Sep 18, 2009 9:41 AM by Associated Press

Massachusetts Senate to consider Kennedy successor bill

The Massachusetts Senate takes up a bill today that would allow Gov. Deval Patrick to name an interim appointment to the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy.

The state House approved the measure last night, but its fate in the Senate is uncertain. Voters will choose a permanent replacement in a special election set for Jan. 19. But the Democratic house speaker says the interim appointment is needed to ensure Massachusetts has two voices in the U.S. Senate as it considers health care and other matters.

The House vote was 95-58 in favor, with all 16 Republicans opposing it.

Today's Senate session is set for noon, but the Republican leader says he'll ask that the matter be postponed, which could delay any debate and vote until next week.

Republicans point out that Democrats changed the succession law five years ago to block then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from naming a temporary replacement for Sen. John Kerry if he had won his presidential bid.

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