On a 21-5 vote, the Senate passed Friday a bill that would allow appointed senators to fill their predecessor is full term, and not need to run in a general election before that.

Before passage, the Senate amended SB123 Friday so that if two-thirds of both houses approve it (as the Senate did), it would be retroactive to affect Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley.

She was appointed to replaced her spouse, former Sen. Ed Mayne, who died last year.

Ed Mayne's four-year term would not have ended until after the 2010 election. But unless the bill passes, Karen Mayne would need to run this year for the unexpired part of her husband's term.

In debate earlier on Thursday, senators joked the bill should have passed earlier, so that some of them could have avoided quick campaigns after they were appointed.

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

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.