Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is among several lawmakers proposing a constitutional amendment to ensure governors cannot fill vacant US Senate seats. A scandal recently occurred in Illinois where former Governor Rod Blagojevich allegedly tried selling off Barack Obama's vacant seat. Feingold says the bill is not a response to that or other high profiles cases. He calls those a confirmation of his "long standing view" that the law is part of a bygone era in which federal lawmakers met only a few months a year.
The 17th amendment of 1913, empowers governors in the selection process. That same year, Wisconsin established special elections as the method for filling vacant US Senate positions.
On Monday, while heading a joint hearing of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Feingold says wannabe senators should have to make their case to the citizens not just to the "occupant of the Governor's mansion."
Republican Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls is co-sponsoring a House version of the bill.