State Rep. Eugene DePasquale



DePasquale legislation seeks to affect U.S. Senate appointments


HARRISBURG, Jan. 28 State Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York, announced his plan to introduce legislation to eliminate the Pennsylvania governor's ability to appoint a United States senator when a vacancy occurs.


DePasquale said the issue drew national attention when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested last month on a number of corruption charges, including allegations of scheming to benefit from appointing President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate replacement.


"It has called into question why only U.S. senators are selected in this fashion," DePasquale said. "We would call for a special election in the case of any other legislator's replacement. I have the utmost respect for Governor Rendell. I simply feel strongly this responsibility should belong not to the current governor or any future governor, but instead to the people of Pennsylvania to elect their senator."


Because the issue has become a hot button for media both locally and nationwide, DePasquale has offered his co-sponsorship memo for viewing by the media and the public on his Web site at


Current Pennsylvania law provides for the filling of U.S. Senate vacancies. The special election would occur at the next primary or general election, providing that election does not occur within 90 days of the vacancy. In addition, the governor has the power to make an interim appointment to fill the unexpired term.


DePasquale said his legislation would not only abolish the practice of temporary U.S. Senate appointments by the governor, but would also call for a special election within 120 days of the vacancy.


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