Friday, September 25, 2009

Massachusetts throws law out the window

Governor to name replacement

BOSTON — Massachusetts lawmakers fulfilled Sen. Edward Kennedy’s dying wish Wednesday, granting the governor the power to appoint an interim replacement for him so President Barack Obama can regain a crucial 60th U.S. Senate vote he needs to pass a healthcare overhaul this year. Gov. Deval Patrick vowed to fill the seat "very, very soon," proclaiming that he will send a letter to the Massachusetts secretary of state to declare an emergency. That would let him override a legislative vote Wednesday that defeated his administration’s effort to make the bill take effect immediately. Normally, legislation faces a 90-day wait. "I recognize the gravity of this decision and I will make it very soon, and tell you just as soon as I do," the governor told reporters Wednesday night. Patrick would not discuss potential appointees, though a top aide confirmed earlier that Kennedy’s sons lobbied for former Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul G. Kirk Jr. The Boston attorney was close friends with Kennedy. Kirk, 71, and his wife, Gail, live on Cape Cod, and he was among the few regular visitors allowed at Kennedy’s Hyannis Port home before Kennedy died Aug. 25. — The Associated Press