Governor Rell reversed her previous position and announced today that she has signed the Senate Vacancy Bill, which takes away her power to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat and instead would require a direct election to choose a successor for senators who leave during their term of office.
Both the House and the Senate had approved the bill by strong majorities, but it was widely expected that Rell would veto it. However, it was clear given the strength of the majority vote by which the bills passed in both houses that the Democrats had the votes for an override of her veto. It looks like the Governor read the writing on the wall and has decided to try and put a positive spin on her decision, per her press release:
“Although the current process for filling a Senate vacancy has worked well in our state for many decades, this bill gives directly to the people of Connecticut the decision on who would fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. Since taking office as Governor, I have done everything in my power to make Connecticut a model for all states when it comes to openness, transparency and citizen participation in government. We are fortunate to live in a participatory democracy, where our people do indeed have a voice in how they are governed. This law is consistent with my long-held belief that we should take every action possible to involve our citizens in their government.”
Under the bill, once a vacancy occurs, the governor will issue a writ within 10 days and the special election will be held on the 150th day after the writ is issued.