And we’re off! The Elections Committee is holding a hearing on “the interim filling of a vacant Senate seat and specifically H.656″ on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 1 pm. It’s in Gardner Auditorium, so apparently they’re expecting a big turnout. Here’s the bill. Note how deftly it finesses the issue of eligibility of the appointee to run in the special election: Section 140 of Chapter 54 of the General Laws, as appearing in 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, after subsection (e), the following new subsection: (f) The Governor shall appoint an interim Senator to a senate vacancy after the deadline for qualifying as a candidate in the special senate election has passed, provided the appointee is not a candidate in said special senate election. The appointed senator shall serve until a successor is duly elected. Completely avoids the constitutional problem that some of us have been bashing around in recent threads. This way, the appointee is not ineligible because the legislature said so; he or she is ineligible because he or she missed the filing deadline. Excellent, excellent solution. This thing should pass, and pass quickly.