Rep. Mark Patterson’s House seat will be vacant when Idaho’s legislative session opens next week, Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports, because of Patterson’s decision to make his resignation effective at midnight on Jan. 5. Patterson, R-Boise, was urged to resign by his GOP legislative district committee, after the revelation last month that he pleaded guilty in a 1974 rape case; that news surfaced after the Ada County sheriff revoked Patterson’s concealed weapon permit for not revealing the case in his application. The first-term lawmaker claimed the sheriff was after him because of legislation he proposed.
Popkey reports that the District 15 GOP committee set a Dec. 27 meeting to consider nominees to replace Patterson, hoping to get the required three names to Gov. Butch Otter in time to have the seat filled by Jan. 6. But Otter’s office reviewed state law and concluded that the committee would have to wait until after Patterson’s resignation took effect, so the meeting was canceled. “Our interpretation of the statute is the vacancy must occur before the process can begin,” said Jon Hanian, Otter’s press secretary. “We’re prepared to fill that seat as quickly as they can make the nominations, but we’re going to do it by the book.”
Popkey reported that the committee is now targeting Jan. 9 or 10 for its meeting, after which Otter must make the appointment. He also reported that Patterson will continue drawing his legislative pay until his resignation takes effect; he’ll receive his last full biweekly paycheck for a gross of $632.23 on Jan. 3, followed by a pro-rated check on Jan. 17 for his final days in office. Popkey’s full report is online here.