The Massachusetts House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill allowing Gov. Deval Patrick to name an interim appointment to the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy last month.
The House voted 97-58 in favor of the bill Thursday evening. It needs a second vote before it moves to the Massachusetts Senate.
The bill's outcome in the Senate remains unclear.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo, a Democrat, said the change is needed to ensure Massachusetts continues to be represented by two senators until voters can choose a replacement during a Jan. 19 special election.
Kennedy died Aug. 25 of brain cancer.
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