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House Panel Blocks Special Election To Oust Burris

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Efforts to remove Roland Burris from the U.S. Senate hit yet another roadblock Wednesday in the Illinois Legislature.

A House committee rejected two different bills that would have canceled Burris' Senate appointment and set up a special election to replace him. One bill was sponsored by a Democrat and the other a Republican, but the vote on both was 7-4 against passage.

A Senate committee rejected similar legislation last week, so there is almost no chance the Democrat-controlled General Assembly will approve a special election.

But Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, said he hasn't given up. He said he'll file a motion to release his bill from committee even though it was voted down. He argues it's important to let voters choose their senator instead of settling for the man appointed by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Critics say Burris was tarnished by accepting the appointment after Blagojevich, who was accused of scheming to benefit from his power to name President Barack Obama's successor in the Senate.

Burris has repeatedly changed his story about his contact with Blagojevich's friends and aides before being appointed. He now acknowledges he was asked to raise campaign money for Blagojevich and made an unsuccessful attempt to do so.

The bills are HB365, HB2503.