JUNEAU - Minority Democrats in the state Legislature are proposing a measure to create a special election to replace a U.S. Senate vacancy.
The measure comes days after the GOP-led Legislature made into law a bill that would allow Republican U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski to appoint his successor if he is elected governor.
House and Senate Democrats filed similar bills on Friday to require the governor to call a special election within 90 days of a congressional vacancy. It would mirror the current requirement to fill a U.S. House of Representatives vacancy.
State Rep. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat, said the measure was in response to the Republican override of Gov. Tony Knowles' veto of the bill affecting Murkowski. The vote was along party lines.
The Legislature approved a bill last session sponsored by state Sen. Dave Donley, an Anchorage Republican, to require the governor to wait five days before appointing a replacement for Alaska's U.S. Senator. It would block Knowles from appointing a replacement before leaving office when his term ends.
Previously, the governor could immediately appoint a replacement from the former senator's political party.
The new bills are House Bill 345 and Senate Bill 249.
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