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Less than 24 hours after Don Shooter was ejected from the Arizona Legislature, signs of his controversial tenure at the Capitol were quickly being removed on Friday.
Staffers in the House of Representatives spent the day boxing up Shooter’s office. His nameplate in the hall outside was taken off the day before, almost immediately after his dramatic ouster.
On Thursday, the House voted 56-3 to expel Shooter after an investigation found "credible evidence" that he sexually harassed at least seven women over several years.
The spectacle left many wondering what happens next: Who will fill his seat in the House? What about his taxpayer-paid salary and benefits? Will lawmakers address lingering concerns about harassment at the Capitol?
Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions The Arizona Republic has received about Shooter’s expulsion.
Rep. Don Shooter speaks to the Arizona House during a House vote on whether to remove him from office following the release of a report detailing allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior at the Capitol. Carly Henry/azcentral.com
Who will take his place?
Per Arizona’s Constitution, the vote to expel Shooter permanently strips him of his elected office, powers and duties. After Thursday’s vote, he was escorted from the House chambers by security.
His seat in the House must now be filled by a Republican from Yuma County, where Shooter has his official residence (though he was known to spend much of his time in central Phoenix).
Local GOP precinct committee leaders must meet sometime in the next week or so to nominate three candidates to replace him.
Then, the Yuma County Board of Supervisors will select one of the three to serve the remainder of Shooter’s term (through the end of this year). The seat is on the ballot in November.
Shooter represented a sprawling district that includes both rural and urban communities, encompassing parts of Buckeye, El MIrage, Glendale, Goodyear, Surprise and Yuma.
Arizona House Speaker J.D. Mesnard records the vote to officially expel Rep. Don Shooter from the House on Feb. 1, 2018. Carly Henry/azcentral.com
Will Shooter still get paid?
Matt Specht, a spokesman for the House Republican Caucus, said Shooter will receive his salary and per diem through Feb. 1, the day he was expelled.
State lawmakers receive a $24,000 yearly salary, along with a daily expense allowance to cover expenses such as lodging and meals during the legislative session. For lawmakers from outside Maricopa County, like Shooter, the per diem is typically $60 per day.
Shooter’s state health-insurance coverage will end Feb. 9, with the close of the current pay period, Specht said.
However, Shooter will still be able to collect a taxpayer-funded pension from his time in the Legislature. His pension should be about $7,000 per year.
What about other harassment concerns?
The investigation that led to Shooter’s ouster ended without other lawmakers facing penalties in the House.
But the Legislature’s #metoo moment might not be over. After the vote to oust Shooter, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said anyone with concerns about inappropriate behavior should come forward.
Mesnard has also called for changes to improve the House’s institutional culture. He said he will propose adding a rule that requires a "formal behavioral code of conduct for all members," as well as a human-resources department for the chamber.
Furthermore, Mesnard said he will ban alcohol consumption on House premises while he is speaker. Shooter was known for holding boozy after-hours parties in his office.
Several female lawmakers who spoke during Thursday’s vote to oust Shooter said the chamber still has work to do to address concerns about a sexist culture.
"I’m proud of you guys for making this difficult decision," said House Majority Whip Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa. "(But) we have a ways to go."
The Arizona Republic investigated concerns about harassment at the Capitol. Based on interviews with about 40 people, the paper found a coarse sexist environment exists that’s bigger than Shooter and can, at times, foster a dismissive attitude about sexual harassment toward women.