Kentucky Bill Alters Rules In The Event Of U.S. Senate Vacancy

Feb 15, 2021

Gov. Andy Beshear says a Republican-led push to limit his ability to fill U.S. Senate vacancies is the latest example of lawmakers taking aim at his administration's authority.

Credit Senate Television via AP

Under Senate Bill 228, Beshear would be limited when picking a U.S. Senate replacement to just three choices — all nominees selected by the same party as the outgoing senator.

The bill would have the effect of guaranteeing a Republican successor for Sen. Mitch McConnell, were the newly-minted minority leader to step down before his current term ends.

Asked about the move Monday, Beshear said lawmakers should protect the separation of powers over party.

"Whether or not we change the way that a vacancy is filled shouldn't be decided based on who's currently in the office," the governor said. "Once that happens, we start breaking the very institutions that keep us moving forward."

Sen. McConnell is currently serving his 7th term in Congress, one that runs through January 2027.