Kentucky bill strips governor of power to appoint senator

The Kentucky Senate sent a bill to Gov. Andy Beshear (D) Thursday that would strip him of his power to appoint people to the U.S. Senate.

The bill seeks to hold special elections for Senate vacancies in Kentucky, according to The Associated Press. The legislation’s passage through the state Senate follows the late February announcement that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), 82, would step down from his position as Senate Minority Leader at the end of the year.

Republican state House Majority Floor Leader Steven Rudy, the bill’s main sponsor, has said the legislation doesn’t have to do with McConnell, but rather his position on how a vacant Senate seat should be filled, per the AP.

The Kentucky state Senate sent the bill to Beshear in a 34-3 vote, according to the AP. Beshear, a Democratic governor in a deeply red state, has pushed back against the bill as having a background in partisanship.

In his speech announcing his decision to leave his leadership position last month, McConnell said he is “not going anywhere any time soon.”

“However, I will complete my job my colleagues have given me until we select a new leader in November and they take the helm next January,” McConnell said.

McConnell said he started taking a second look at his career plans following the death of his sister-in-law, Angela Chow, in a car crash in early February.

“When you lose a loved one, particularly at a young age, there’s a certain introspection that accompanies the grieving process. Perhaps it is God’s way of reminding you of your own life’s journey to prioritize the impact of the world that we will all inevitably leave behind,” he said, noting his recent birthday. “I turned 82 last week. The end of my contributions are closer than I’d prefer.”

The Hill has reached out to Beshear’s office and Rudy.

The Associated Press contributed.

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