Senate President Bob Burns has picked a new chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Burns on March 3 appointed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray to head the committee. Gray chaired the committee prior to his selection as majority leader about two years ago.
“It’s important in these difficult times that we all shoulder an additional burden so that we can wade through them,” Gray said. “The fact of the matter is we’ve had a lot of resignations from the Senate and so a lot of expertise has been lost.”
Jonathan Paton, a Tucson Republican, was chairman of the Judiciary Committee prior to his resignation from the Senate last month. He was one of four lawmakers who left the Legislature in order to run for Congress.
Besides Paton, Jim Waring and Pamela Gorman also resigned their seats in order to seek higher office.
In the House, Sam Crump also decided to leave the capitol in order to seek the Republican nomination for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District.
The series of resignations in the Senate has compelled the chamber’s leadership to shuffle committee assignments.
Sen. Ed Bunch, who replaced Waring, has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
Sen. David Braswell, who replaced Gorman, was appointed to the Appropriations Committee. He replaced Senate Majority Whip Steve Pierce on the panel.
The Senate, though, still lacks a member. The Pima County Board of Supervisors picked Rep. Frank Antenori on March 2 to fill the Senate vacancy in Legislative District 30, but Antenori has yet to take his oath of office.