Rumors abound at the State House this noon hour that Greg Sorg, R-Grafton County, is no longer vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
Chairman Robert Rowe, R-Amherst, tells me Sorg is officially still Vice Chair ("He's still on the paper, yes"), but others insist Sorg has either stepped aside voluntarily or has been removed because he refuses to do what leadership tells him in each and every instance.
It isn't clear whether Sorg has been totally removed from Judiciary although he now appears to be on the committee on redress of grievances, a place where those...well, never mind...let's just say that many on that committee never bother to show up.
Sorg told Redress of Grievances Committee members this morning that he had left Judiciary because he disagrees with the Chair (Rowe) too often. The words "irreconcilable differences" were used, a second souce tells me. Interestingly, both Rowe and Sorg were movers and shakers with the very conservative House Republican Alliance last session (when O'Brien served as co-chair of the HRA).
It's truly sad that all chairs and vice chairs must either do exactly what they're told or leave.
Earlier this year, Gary Hopper, R-Weare, was removed as chair of Fish and Game when he refused to do as Speaker O'Brien demanded, namely that he vote to override Governor John Lynch's veto on right to work legislation.
There was an eruption on the House foor yesterday regarding a Judiciary Committee bill which was recommended 16-1 as ought to pass (Sorg the one). Rep Tony Soltani, R-Epsom, spoke against the bill and won (managing to get it tabled which is, in effect, killing it...at least for the time being).
There is apparently no truth to the rumor that Lynn Ober, R-Hudson, has added Vice Chairmanship of Judiciary to her portfolio which includes of Chairman of the Special Education Committee, Chairman of Municipal and County Goverment, and Vice Chair of Finance, although some in Concord are wondering (with tongue in cheek) if Ober might be the only person left for O'Brien to appoint to anything.
Last week when Team O'Brien replaced Bev Ferrante. R-Londonderry, with Ober as Municipal and County Government Chair, a release went out saying that Ferrante was needed in Republican leaderhip. Most Reps are convinced it was a demotion for Ferrante with Ober having been sent in to shore up an out of control committee. It speaks loudly that former Municipal Chair Betsi Patten, R-Carroll County, was not given the gavel back, but then as reported here last week, she delivered a fantastic speech in opposition to O'Brien's position on taxing telephone poles.
We await the press release anxiously and will pay special attention to the official reason given for Sorg's departure (what are the odds we'll see those two words "irreconcilable differences?).
The clerk of Election Law, unhappy with Chair David Bates, R-Windham (boy, I could tell stores about this one, but I'll hold them for when I have more time--hey, this is NH Insider after all), stepped down last week as well and was replaced by Susan DeLemus, R-Strafford County.
It just gets funner and funner.