Rell flips and signs Senate Vacancy Bill

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.

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16 responses to “Rell flips and signs Senate Vacancy Bill

  1. Wow! Kudos to Gov. Rell on that one! I’m amazed and very pleased! A major victory for Democracy!

  2. AndersonScooper

    Hey Bob, Kudos? For friggin’ what?

    Rell lost badly on this one, and not signing this reform bill would have made her look awful at an important point in time. (Then the Dems would have over-ridden the veto anyway.)

    For the record, Rell was 100% against this measuren until the moment after she signed it into law.

    Then it became time to try and hide that fact via another bullshit press release.

    Moody/Rell remains as intellectually dishonest as ever.

  3. Moody/Rell remains as intellectually dishonest as ever.

    Scooper, true to form, no Republican can ever do right in your eyes and no matter which way the Governor goes, she is no good.

  4. …the Dems would have over-ridden the veto anyway.

    Doubtful; too many owe her for one thing or another.

    Unlike Williams, Rell can count.

    What she chose to do instead was to open the door for Dodd’s resignation.

  5. Power grab!

    The joke is on you. The Legislature is stripping the Governor of her ability to swiftly fill a Senate vacancy. That’s a power grab if ever there was one.

  6. Hey, now Chris Dodd can be appointed ambassador to Burkina Faso without Democrats losing a Senate seat. Hmm.

  7. Hey, now Chris Dodd can be appointed ambassador to Burkina Faso without Democrats losing a Senate seat. Hmm.

    I was under the impression that he was to join VP Biden on a 2 or 3 year fact finding mission to Antarctica.

  8. Hey Bob, Kudos? For friggin’ what?

    Jeez dude, regardless of her rational, I’m happy to see the bill get signed into law.

    Don’t worry, I’m’ sure she’ll do something I hate soon enough and I can get back to knocking her. But for today, I’m pleased to see Democracy win, no matter what the reason.

  9. Dempsey Dem

    I actually prefferred a comprimise proposal that got lost in the shuffle. I think the current law might want to be ammended to provide for full time representation in Congress.

    Let the Governor appoint a replacement to serve until the voters can elect a full replacement within the 5 or 6 month plan she just signed. This would avoid the Minnesotta problem of a vacant seat for up to 6 months, and allow the Governor to give ‘a head start’ to her choice, therebty leveling somewhat the playing field.

    Not gonna happen, but an interesting idea.

  10. Jeez dude, regardless of her rational, I’m happy to see the bill get signed into law.

    Don’t worry, I’m’ sure she’ll do something I hate soon enough and I can get back to knocking her. But for today, I’m pleased to see Democracy win, no matter what the reason.

    Fair comment, CT Bob.

  11. AndersonScooper

    As tparty notes over at MLN, the Courant’s Jon Lender has a fair version of what actually transpired.

    In a dramatic reversal Friday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced that she has signed a bill that she and her lieutenants had previously belittled — a measure that takes away her appointment power to fill vacancies for U.S. Senate, and instead requires direct elections to choose successors for senators who leave office during their terms.

    Rell and her Republican legislative allies had bitterly denounced the bill recently, after the Democrat-controlled House and Senate approved it by strong majorities. The Republicans called it an unwarranted infringement on a longstanding power of the governor in this and other states.

    The strength of those previous denunciations magnified the impact of Friday’s reversal — and it suggested that Rell and her people came to believe that Democrats could make good on their recent talk of overriding any Rell veto of the bill.

    Privately, Democratic legislators had been expressing confidence that they could muster the required two-thirds majority necessary for an override in both chambers. There was even a sense that they looked forward to a public victory to boost them during what is expected to be a contentious and difficult period of budget negotiations with the Rell administration.

  12. The strength of those previous denunciations magnified the impact of Friday’s reversal — and it suggested that Rell and her people came to believe that Democrats could make good on their recent talk of overriding any Rell veto of the bill.

    To suggest that Jodi Rell fears any Democrat — heck, all Democrats — in the General Assembly is downright stupid. She’s a basic woman: if she believes in something strongly enough, she’ll support it. If she doesn’t believe in something, she won’t support it, and she’ll make sure that it is defeated.

    Let’s not forget that she has beaten the very “best” that Democrats have to offer in Connecticut, either as the lead dog or the undercard, on the gubernatorial ticket. Bill Curry, Barbara Kennelly, John DeStefano, it doesn’t matter. She owns Democrats the way a baby owns a diaper.

  13. PoopyScoopy, you keep on deluding yourself that Rell is — in any way — “afraid” of what the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly can do.

    Considering that Pornstachio and Speaker Union Label, not to mention their fractious caucii, would f*k up a one-car funeral, the amusement value alone is worth every second.

    But it’s even better when true believers like you delude yourselves into thinking you actually matter. That’s when I find myself rolling around on the floor, laughing until I cry.

  14. Let’s not forget that she has beaten the very “best” that Democrats have to offer

    Like a drum.

    They can’t get over her 70 – 75% ratings.

    It’s simple really – she has both manners and she almost oozes class; Democratic so called “leadership” has neither.

    Don’t believe it?
    Just get a load of their state chair!

  15. Cafero apparently is pretty mad at Rell for signing the bill, despite the fact that her office asked the Republicans to filibuster and vote against the bill.

    From The Day:

    The move shocked the Democratic lawmakers who had pushed the bill through the House and Senate during the regular session, over Rell’s objections.

    And to Republicans, who had fought the measure, decrying it as a power grab and an affront to the governor personally, Rell’s change of heart was an even bigger and more unpleasant surprise.

    House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, learned from reporters that Rell had signed the bill, and said he had received no indication why the governor changed her position.

    ”Maybe she completely changed her mind,” Cafero said sarcastically, rattling off a list of potential explanations. “Or her phone broke. Or she forgot that 48 out of 49 members of her own party, at her office’s request, spoke for over five hours in opposition to a bill that we felt was a direct slap to her personally because it took effect during her term.”

    ”It was clearly a political move,” Cafero said of the Senate vacancy bill. “She said it was. For her to today sign that was a complete about face of which we had no prior notice, so I guess you’d have to ask her why.”

    That the governor had reversed course without even alerting Republicans was a shock, one Republican aide said, adding that some lawmakers had grumbled privately that the only explanation for the move might be a desire on the part of Rell’s influential chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, to preserve the governor’s record of only rarely having her vetoes overridden by the legislature.

  16. errr… my blockquotes there got slightly screwed up

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