The state Senate passed a bill this afternoon that would allow Governor Deval Patrick to name an interim successor to Edward M. Kennedy, potentially paving the way for appointment of a new US senator later this week.
The Senate approved the measure by a 24-16 vote, leaving one final procedural hurdle in both chambers before the bill heads to Patrick's desk. The House and Senate are expected to enact the bill on Wednesday, a formality unlikely to derail the effort.
Patrick has pushed for the bill and could sign it as early as Wednesday. Administration officials have been considering several possible appointees, but have declined to release the names out of concern that such a step could affect the legislative debate. (continues here)