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GOP sets meeting to urge Rep. Patterson to resign

Boise Republicans Wednesday invited Rep. Mark Patterson to a meeting next week where he could be asked to resign, the AP reports. The session, at an as-yet undisclosed Boise location, is meant as a forum for party officials to discuss the furor surrounding the revocation of Patterson's concealed weapons permit after he failed to disclose his guilty plea in a 1974 rape case. Dan Luker, the District 15 precinct committee secretary, confirmed the meeting on Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press. Another member of the 15-person GOP committee, state Sen. Fred Martin of Boise, has said he wants party officials to urge Patterson to resign on grounds his behavior is inappropriate. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.


Boise GOP to meet Tuesday over Rep. Patterson
By JOHN MILLER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Boise Republicans Wednesday invited Rep. Mark Patterson to a meeting next week where he could be asked to resign.

The session, at an as-yet undisclosed Boise location, is meant as a forum for party officials to discuss the furor surrounding the revocation of Patterson's concealed weapons permit after he failed to disclose his guilty plea in a 1974 rape case.

Dan Luker, the District 15 precinct committee secretary, confirmed the meeting on Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Another member of the 15-person GOP committee, state Sen. Fred Martin of Boise, has said he wants party officials to urge Patterson to resign on grounds his behavior is inappropriate.

The last lawmaker to quit the Idaho Legislature was former Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, after he was accused by an assistant of sexual harassment.

Luker said Wednesday he's uncertain of the meeting's outcome but that Patterson will be given an opportunity to speak. After that, district officials will discuss further steps — including whether to consider a possible resolution calling for Patterson's resignation. Any decision the group makes wouldn't carry the force of law, but would be seen as a recommendation on Patterson's worthiness to continue in office.

“Once an individual is duly elected… the role of the party is really limited to providing a statement about issues,” Luker said. “There is no provision in law or party rules that allow a district committee to remove an officeholder.”

Only impeachment by the House — or a recall by voters — could forcibly remove Patterson from office.

Patterson didn't immediately return a phone call on Wednesday seeking comment on his plans.

At least for now, Luker said District 15 isn't releasing the location or time of Tuesday's meeting.

Although the precinct committee members are elected party members, Luker said such a meeting does not fall under the state's open-meeting law for most government institutions.

With this discretion, he said, he's hoping to give members of the precinct committee opportunity to deliberate on Patterson's future without distractions that might accompany a meeting attended by the public.

Patterson has been the focus of attention since the Idaho Statesman in November reported he failed to disclose the 39-year-old guilty plea in a Florida rape case when he applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon, first in 2007 and again in 2012. Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney revoked Patterson's permit in late October. Raney has said Patterson's record makes him ineligible for a concealed weapons permit in Idaho.

Martin, like Patterson a freshman lawmaker from District 15, says he's grown concerned — not only with Patterson's legal troubles as a young man and the circumstances surrounding the loss of his concealed weapons permit, but also his response after the matter become public.

Martin said Patterson has been “very abusive in his demeanor and his language” as even his own party members raise concerns about his fitness to continue serving. He said he'll entertain Patterson's version of events before making a final decision on how best to proceed.

“I'm going to listen to him, I'm going to hear what he says,” Martin said. “We have no power to remove him. We have the power of persuasion and are going to express our displeasure, hopefully.”

Though Patterson lost his concealed weapons permit, he can continue to carry a concealed weapon because of a 1990 law that exempts elected officials from having to obtain a permit. Idaho is the only state that exempts elected officials from the permit law.


  

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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