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Rep. Weyler steps down from House Finance Committee after distributing COVID-19 misinformation

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Rep. Ken Weyler has resigned from his post as the New Hampshire House's top budget writer. The move comes after Weyler, a Republican from Kingston, distributed a false report to his colleagues laden with conspiracy theories about COVID-19, the Catholic Church and other topics.

"Considering the recent controversy surrounding an email that I sent and the side circus this has created, I wish to remove myself as chairman," Weyler wrote in a letter distributed by the House Speaker's office Wednesday afternoon.

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Weyler will stay in the House, where he has served as a lawmaker for nearly 30 years.

In a statement, House Speaker Sherman Packard, Republican from Londonderry, said he "reluctantly" accepted Weyler's resignation from his post. Top New Hampshire Democrats and Gov. Chris Sununu had called for him to be stripped of the Finance Committee chairmanship, among the most influential positions in the Legislature.

"[Weyler] realizes his error in judgment and recognizes it has compromised his ability to lead the House Finance Committee and Joint Fiscal Committee both now and moving forward," Packard said.

In the same statement, Packard said Rep. Karen Umberger, a Republican from Kearsarge, will be appointed as the new chair of House Finance, and by statute will also serve as chair of the Joint Fiscal Committee.

The Republican-controlled Fiscal Committee has blocked the approval of $27 million in federal money to improve the state's vaccination efforts. In opposing that money, Weyler said he doesn't trust information from state and federal health officials.