There's an old saying at the state Capitol that residency is a state of mind.

So where's Rep. Don Shooter's state of mind been for the past couple of years?

Is it in the legislative district he was elected to represent in Yuma?

Or nearly 200 miles away in Phoenix, where some say he really lives.

It's a question I found out that Shooter does not like answering.

"Where's your primary residence? Give me your address and I'll go visit you," Shooter told me on the House floor.

I asked about his "primary residence" because local property tax records show his wife owns a home in Phoenix.

She bought the house in June 2015 for $500,000, according to the Country Assessor.

She also lists that home as her "primary residence" on those same records.

It makes sense for her to live in town since she works for the Arizona Department of Education in Phoenix.

However, her husband represents Legislative District 13, which includes large swaths of Yuma and western Maricopa counties.

Shooter lists a small rental residence in Yuma as his address on campaign and financial disclosure forms.

So I traveled to Yuma to get a closer look.

A woman claiming to be Shooter's landlord said the lawmaker does rent out the apartment.

But how much times does he spend there?

An APS representative said the average utility bill for the apartment is $56 a month.

His neighbors were not very chatty but said they didn't know much about the lawmaker living next door.

"I don't know him," said one man living directly next Shooter's apartment.

He also said Shooter may not be a full-time resident.

"It's problematic for the voters in Yuma County and in his district," said Tom Ryan, a Chandler attorney.

Ryan has brought legal challenges over the residency of lawmakers in the past.

He believes Shooter is gaming the state's loose residency laws at the expense of taxpayers, the voters who put him in office.

"It's problematic for us as taxpayers because we are basically subsidizing a half million dollar home," Ryan said.

Out of town lawmakers receive a higher per diem rate than lawmakers who live in the Valley.

This is meant to offset the out of town expenses such as housing and food that are associated with spending moths at the Capitol during the session.

Since June of 2015, Shooter has received roughly $17,000 in out of county per diem, according to legislative records.

Add in his mileage reimbursement, it's nearly $24,000 -- the equivalent of a lawmaker's yearly salary.

"He's effectively been able to double his legislative salary at a time Arizona families are struggling to make ends meet that's nothing more than just being shameful, shameful and greedy," Ryan said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Political Editor

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