Jonathan Paton made sure he didn’t spend his last day in the Legislature as a lame duck.
Paton officially resigned Feb. 22. But he stuck around long enough to make sure a couple of his measures passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.
One of his measures, which passed during Paton’s final comittee hearing, would require the governor to appear in the Legislature once every two weeks for a question-and-answer exchange with lawmakers.
At the end of the hearing, Paton thanked his colleagues on the committee for “tolerating (his) snarky comments” from time to time. He wished everyone well and thanked the committee’s staff for all their work.
He said being a lawmaker was the most exciting thing he’s ever done.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to be in any other place,” he said.
Paton was a member of the House from 2005 until 2008 when he was elected to the Senate. He now intends to run for the Republican nomination in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. He will be running against Republicans Jesse Kelly, Brian Miller and Andrew Goss for the right to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for her seat.
Republican Party officials in Pima County will choose three people as possible replacements for Paton. After that, the Pima County Board of supervisors will appoint one of those three to fill in for Paton during the rest of this year’s legislative session.
Paton is the fourth lawmaker to resign this year. Pamela Gorman, Jim Waring have resigned from the Senate, while Sam Crump has resigned from the House.
Paton is best known for his work with Rep. Kirk Adams on a package of bills to create more transparency in Child Protective Services following a highly publicized hearing into the deaths of three children under state supervision the year before.
The measures dealt with increasing transparency in the CPS system by opening some CPS records, court proceedings for children and state employee disciplinary records. The measures also required CPS workers to follow court orders and file missing-person reports.
Paton also is an outspoken critic of the Clean Elections system, and he has sponsored legislation to end the system of public financing for politicians. He said he wanted to see the legislation begin moving through the process before he left the Capitol.
Paton’s SCR1009, which has recieved committee approval, would ask voters in November to amend the state Constitution to prohibit taxpayer money from being used to fund any political candidate or campaign for statewide office or legislative office.
The measure, which already received committee approval, awaits the vote of the full Senate.
Paton would be leaving the chamber without seeing the legislation become law.
“I kind of think that if they make it out of committee, they will probably make it forward,” he said.