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Senate OKs bill keeping lieutenant governor's office open

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 20, 2014 at 11:40 a.m.

The Arkansas Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would avoid a special election this year for the lieutenant governor's position left open by the resignation of Mark Darr.

The Senate voted 35-0 on Thursday in favor of the bill, which would enable Gov. Mike Beebe to not call a special election for the office within 10 months of the November election. Darr resigned Feb. 1, and lawmakers hope to avoid a special election before the November general election that will fill the post.

Lawmakers say holding a special election would cost $1 million.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

Darr resigned under the threat of impeachment and after the state Ethics Commission fined him $11,000 for ethics violations tied to his office and campaign spending.

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