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House backs ruling against impeachment of member

CONCORD - By a large majority, the House Wednesday backed House Speaker Terie Norelli in ruling the House could not act on an impeachment petition against a House member.

The petition by 120 residents sought to begin impeachment proceedings against Rep. Cynthia Chase, D-Keene, who criticized the Free State Project in a blog on

The petition was not sponsored by a House member, which is needed, if the House were to take action under its rules, according to Rep. Gary Richardson, D-Hopkinton.

Rep. George Lambert, R-Hudson, asked to have the petition sent to a committee. When Norelli ruled it out of order, he asked the House to overturn her decision.

He said a representatives' job is to represent the public and uphold the constitution which allows the Legislature to address the grievances of citizens.

The House voted 276-77 to back the speaker. That vote included 87 Republicans.

Chase called the Free Staters "the single biggest threat the state faces today," and suggested creating an unwelcoming environment for those seeking to move here.

The comments were picked up by national conservative blogs, radio talk shows and Free State and Libertarian websites.

Several Free State members called for Chase to resign and others began the petition to impeach her.

Also Wednesday, the House voted down, all by large maregins, three grievance petitions brought by representatives for their constituents.

The House no longer has a Redress of Grievances Committee, so any petitions the House approves would have to be sent to other committees.

Two of the petitions concerned court proceedings, while the third a worker's compensation ruling by the Department of Labor and the Compensation Appeals Board.

Richardson said it is not the roll of the Legislature to retry adjudicative decisions.

Trace Adkins
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