Alabama's House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that would end special elections to fill vacancies for the state's two U.S. Senate seats.
The bill now heads to the state senate after a 67-31 party-line vote in the lower chamber where Republicans have the majority, AL.com reported.
Republican lawmakers cited the high cost on taxpayers of the recent special election, which was won by Democrat Doug Jones, as justification for the bill.
House General Fund budget chairman Steve Clouse said the contest to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, and temporarily held by Sen. Luther Strange, cost roughly $11 million.
Democrats disagree, arguing the cost was not justify doing away with special elections.
"Is the cost more important than the citizens having a voice?" state Rep. Mary Moore, a Democrat, asked Clouse.
The bill does not address special elections for other offices in the state.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that Alabama is one of 14 states to require a special election to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy. Nearly triple that number relies on gubernatorial appointment.
The Alabama House vote comes a little more than a month after a high-profile special election in which the highly favored Republican, Roy Moore, found his campaign to be mired in controversy after reports began coming out about women alleging he pursued sexual or romantic relationships with them while they were in their teens and he in his 30s. Moore had denied to charges, but was unable to regain lost momentum.