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Path Cleared For Kennedy Successor

The Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill allowing Governor Deval Patrick to fill Ted Kennedy's vacant seat until a special election is held, paving the way for the Democrats to secure a 60 vote majority in the Senate. But health-care advocates should not rejoice too soon; The bill came with the caveat that it could not come into effect for 90 days. Both Democratic and Republican Massachusetts lawmakers bristled at the notion that their hand was being forced due to political realities in Washington D.C. It is likely the governor will claim that the senate seat should be filled immediately due to an "emergency," a notion that doesn't fly with many state politicians. Meanwhile, it is increasingly likely that Paul Kirk, a former top aide to Kennedy, will be appointed to the seat. However, it remains to be seen when he will actually be able to cast any votes.