Oklahoma House OKs bill to let governor pick US senator

Oklahoma Legislature
Oklahoma State Capitol

Oklahoma State Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma House approved a bill on Tuesday to let the governor fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate.

The bill, approved on a 54-42 vote, now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Under current Oklahoma law, the governor calls for a special election if there is a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, but House author Rep. Kyle Hilbert says that process takes too long.

Under his proposal, the governor would pick the U.S. senator from a list of three names submitted by the speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The person selected would have to be from the same political party as his or her predecessor and be confirmed by the state Senate.

Rep. Andy Fugate voted against the measure, arguing it would return Oklahoma to the “smoke-filled room of the last century.”

“This leaves the people out,” said Fugate, D-Midwest City. “It’s going to be somebody’s back-room appointment.”

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