Otherwise, the special election would fall on the next general election date, with a special primary to be held no later than 60 days prior to the general election.
With any vacancy, the governor would continue to have authority to appoint a temporary replacement until the election for the unexpired term could be completed.
Manchin on Thursday called a news conference for Friday at 2 p.m. to announce the temporary appointment to Byrd's seat.
Several political insiders have said they believe Charleston lawyer and former Manchin chief counsel Carte Goodwin will be the appointee. Former state Democratic Party chairman Nick Casey and former Gov. Gaston Caperton are also thought to be on the governor's short list.
Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary members made two notable changes to the bill:
| Sen. John Shott, R-Mercer, amended the bill to require a special election if there is two years or more remaining in the unexpired term. Current law sets the time at 21/2 years or more.
"The indication I got from constituents, and it was pretty unanimous, is that an appointed senator should not be serving for longer than an elected member of the House of Representatives," said Shott.
| Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin, D-Mingo, amended the bill to require state Senate confirmation of any temporary appointee.
However, indications are that the provision will be removed Friday, since it could violate the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that U.S. senators are to be elected by the people, not appointed by state legislatures.
House Judiciary Committee members were meeting Thursday evening to work on the House's version of the bill.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.