[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/25/art.feingold.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Russ Feingold is sponsoring an amendment to ban governors from appointing senators."]
(CNN) – In the wake of a series of controversies surrounding Senate appointments, several lawmakers are trying to put an end to the practice of allowing governors to hand-pick senators to fill vacant seats.
The Senate and House Judiciary Committees will hold a joint hearing on March 11 on a proposed constitutional amendment to make states hold special elections to fill Senate vacancies, instead of the tradition of allowing governors to choose their successors. Democrats Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan will preside over the hearing.
The bipartisan bill doesn’t have a lot of support so far, with only two cosponsors in the Senate and six in the House. Feingold first proposed the amendment at the end of January.
The issue over how to fill Senate vacancies has gotten more attention this year, after the November 4 election and subsequent administration appointments left four open seats. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached over allegations that he auctioned off President Obama’s former Senate seat and New York Gov. David Paterson faced intense criticism over the way he handled filling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s vacant spot.