Patterson loses panel seat over remarks toward Pearce
PHOENIX - A Tucson lawmaker has been stripped of his seat on a House committee because of comments he made last week to another legislator.
House Speaker Kirk Adams said Wednesday that Daniel Patterson, a Democrat, was out of line in the way he spoke to Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, during a meeting last week of the House Committee on Military Affairs and Public Safety.
Pearce was appearing before the panel to push legislation requiring the Department of Public Safety to seek grant funds to purchase seismic sensor equipment for use use around border area roads and airports to detect drug and human smuggling. Patterson questioned not only the effectiveness of the this plan, but other measures dealing with border security Pearce has sponsored.
"Your approach to immigration policy has failed for years," Patterson told Pearce.
Patterson also said he was not satisfied with some of the responses Pearce gave him about the number of people who have been killed in the border area. "I can assume you don't have the answers or just make them up."
Adams said Patterson's removal was justified. "A lack of decorum simply cannot be tolerated," he said.
Adams refused to consider a request by House Minority Leader David Lujan to reconsider because the exchange was an isolated incident, inflamed by the passions of the moment.
"From the budget to immigration to health-care issues, there's a lot of passion for the very significant legislation that's being debated at all levels of government," Lujan said, noting Patterson, a first-term legislator, apologized to all members of the committee.
In an effort to get Patterson reinstated, House Democrats released statements by retired Army General John Adams of Tucson and retired U.S. Air Force Major Mark Beres praising him, but Adams was unreceptive.
No one has been named to the spot.