Mass. appointment bill could pass Tuesday

Republicans in the state Senate have reportedly given up on a procedural challenge to a bill that would restore appointment powers that were stripped just five years ago, when Democrats feared a Republican appointee from then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R).

The appointee would not be a part of the special election currently being waged for the seat of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who died last month.
“We’ll probably take it up tomorrow,” state Senate GOP Leader Richard Tisei told the Boston Globe on Monday. He said he didn’t know if “there’s a lot to be gained by continuing to delay” the bill.

“That’s not what we’re about. We’re trying to give people time to weigh in. We got the weekend out of it,” Tisei said.
The bill passed the state House last week by a 95-58 vote, with some Democrats joining Republicans in opposition. It has been criticized as a transparent political power grab, especially in light of the partisan move in 2004.
Democrats pushed for the appointment in light of the contentious debate on healthcare reform, in which every vote is a valuable one. With a Democratic senator replacing Kennedy, the party would have 60 votes in the Senate, and could feasibly pass a healthcare bill without GOP support.

Kennedy’s role as a champion of healthcare reform also played into the decision by Democrats to push forward with the bill in the State Legislature.