The Senate on Thursday gave tentative approval to a bill that could lengthen the time before the public can vote to approve or reject a person appointed to fill a vacant senate seat.

Instead of being forced to stand for re-election in the next general election, a newly appointed Senator would be allowed to fill any remaining time left in the term of the person they replaced. The measure, SB123, would affect people such as Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley, who was recently appointed to fill the seat of her late husband, Ed Mayne.

Senators joked the measure should have passed earlier in order to help them avoid a quick re-election after being appointed to some respective seats.

"I think this bill is genius," said Sen. Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse. "My question is 'where the hell were you five years ago?"'

SB123 is sponsored by Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, and now faces a final vote in the senate. Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City said he plans to offer an amendment to the bill to allow it to only apply to people filling the seats of deceased senators.