Nicholas Fontana was sworn in today as the newest member of the House of Representatives, just in time to do the one thing the Constitution requires of the Legislature: approve a budget.
Fontana, an independent from Tucson, replaces former Rep. Daniel Patterson, who resigned from office earlier this month minutes before his colleagues were set to expel him from the body for a series of transgressions.
Though Patterson was elected as a Democrat, he re-registered as an independent after members of the Democratic caucus moved to oust him from office. Moments before he resigned, Patterson changed back to a Democrat, but state election officials said the change wasn’t made official until after he had resigned.
Under state law, that meant an independent had to replace him.
Fontana, an attorney, switched his registration from Democrat to independent in order to seek appointment to the House.
Fontana has said he will not seek election to the Legislature and only intends to serve out the remainder of the term.