February 4th, 2009
11:10 AM ET
14 years ago

MN bill would allow Franken to take Senate seat - for now

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/04/art.frankengrin0204.gi.jpg caption="A law proposed by a Minnesota legislator would allow Democrat Al Franken to be seated provisionally in the U.S. Senate while a post-election lawsuit filed by Republican Norm Coleman is pending."]
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - A Minnesota state representative has introduced a bill that - if passed - would result in the seating of Democrat Al Franken as Minnesota's junior senator, at least temporarily.

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, a Democrat, introduced a bill in the Minnesota legislature Monday that would provisionally seat the winner of the statewide recount in instances where a post-election lawsuit is imminent.

If passed, it would take effect immediately, allowing Franken would be seated in the interim period while the legal battle brought by former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman plays out in court.

Earlier: MN court issues ruling on rejected absentee ballots

Franken came out of the recount 225 votes ahead of Coleman.

Minnesota law presently states that in the case of a post-election court proceeding, "an election certificate shall not be issued until a court of proper jurisdiction has finally determined the contest."

Kahn's bill would scrap that line and allow for a "provisional certificate of election" to be signed that would seat the candidate deemed ahead by the state canvassing board from the day the term begins until the day the court contest is complete.

Current law requires the signatures of both the governor and secretary of state for an election certificate to be issued.

Brian McClung, spokesman for Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said the governor "believes this bill is flawed."

"You can't change the rules of the game after it's been played," McClung said. "In addition, the canvassing board process is incomplete because they are not authorized to address all of the issues that may be raised. That's why you need to have the option of a court contest to complete the process if necessary."

The bill currently awaits a hearing in the Minnesota House committee on state and local government operations reform.

Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota Senate race • Norm Coleman
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. 1/20/13

    Ivorette Cooper

    His name is Obama to half of the Amercan people get used to it........We could call him worse

    February 4, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. Bill

    After reading some of comments about the Dems trying to steal an election. Please the Republicans are the kings on stealing elections. I seem to remember the 2000 election and the Republicans sure stole that election.

    February 4, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Jackson, Seattle

    Bruce February 4th, 2009 12:37 pm ET

    Coleman is not a sore loser.

    No, he's a crook...his ethics investigation is being held up because of this. That is why he is dragging this on and on and on...it is just to avoid his ethics investigation.

    Funny how not ONE person defending Coleman wants to talk about the ethics investigation awaiting him. Not one.

    February 4, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Josh- Rochester, MN

    I realy dislike Franken but MN needs a representative in the senate regardless. He can keep the seat warm for now.

    February 4, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Dittohead

    election stolen by this _ _ _ hole and his cronies. i have nothing but bad wishes for this piece of garbage. if this theft holds up, i hope the GOP marks him for defeat in 6 years.

    another democrat who didn't pay taxes.

    February 4, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. Garu

    Heil Stuart Small!

    February 4, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. Wynter

    Go for it AL!!!!

    Why do we have to wait for Coleman to stop wasting our time? We need the vote in Congress!

    February 4, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Rick

    Doesn't the governor have to sign such a bill. I doubt he would. Seems the Franken supporters want to vet this election result with the same diligence that Obama vetted Richardson, Daschle, Geithner, et al. This is nothing more than a political trick on the part of Kahn knowing that once in place, it's much harder to overturn

    February 4, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. JB

    Al Franken as a US Senator. Truly, hell has frozen over and the four horsemen of the apocalypse are coming. It is past time for the Second American Revolution and the citizens of this country need to march upon the US Capitol and take back our country from the corruption that is the Democratic party and Washington DC. Hang these corrupt politicans (Democrat & Republican) from the tall oak trees on the Capitol lawn.

    February 4, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Matt

    What is the point of seating him if he would have no ability to do anything but sit in a chair and smile like fool? Better to leave it empty and let the courts decide the winner since the standards of the recount was so messed up.

    February 4, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Kevin in Ohio

    This legislation CANNOT be Constitutional. The courts have spoken.... we need to count the previously thrown out votes.

    February 4, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. Sean

    Well, I can't say that I'm happy to see Franken in there. I've never been a fan of how he's handled himself publicly and politically. I think people like him will hurt the Democratic Party's credibility.

    February 4, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. Randy

    I see the dems are trying to snake their way into another seat. Why steal just one election?

    February 4, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Tim

    The Republicans did not steal the election of 2000. Whether you like it or not....it is not the popular vote that elects the President. If you don't like it...then change it.....but you can't try to change the rules after the election already occurred.

    Besides....if Al Gore just won his HOMESTATE of Tennessee....it would never had come down to Florida.....but I guess those closest to you know you best.

    February 4, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    No Senator for the seat should be allowed to sit on a provisional basis without the law having been changed and if it is changed, the present election should not be "Grand Fathered" in. Any change should be applicable to the next election.

    February 4, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Gerry In Toronto

    Sounds like a valid idea for the State to be repesented in the Senate at such a crucial point of history.

    When is Coleman going to be charged by the FBI for accepting pay for play?

    February 4, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Translation: trying to build in a loophole to get around the constitution.

    February 4, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. BB

    That whole MN debacle sounds like MN Groundhog's Day – on and on and on – over and over and over

    Enough – get it right, or revote.

    February 4, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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