First day of General Assembly hardly a smooth ride

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FRANKFORT, Ky.  (KT) - The 2018 General Assembly got off to a bumpy start on Tuesday with some lawmakers unhappy that House Speaker Jeff Hoover has resigned and others upset that he hasn't.


Hoover, R-Jamestown, had announced he would give up his leadership post in November after admitting he entered into a settlement with a former House staffer to resolve a sexual harassment claim, but no letter of resignation was filed and Hoover’s name remained on the speaker’s rostrum Tuesday.


It appears that Hoover is backtracking on his resignation, which he said on Nov. 5 was effective immediately. 


Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, presided in the House on Tuesday while Hoover sat quietly in the back of the chamber.


Hoover said in a letter that he wanted Osborne “to perform the duties of speaker until further notice" because of a pending investigation by the Legislative Ethics Commission, which is looking into sexual harassment complaints against Hoover and other House lawmakers.


"I feel this is an appropriate step to take, until the investigations have  concluded," Hoover wrote.

 

Osborne told reporters Tuesday that Hoover remains speaker. He also said Hoover remains a member of two committees that determine which bills are sent to the Houe floor for votes.

 

House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins said the Democratic caucus "unanimously believes that Speaker Jeff Hoover should keep the commitment he made to the people of Kentucky in November and resign immediately."

Hoover was one of four Republican lawmakers to settle the sexual harassment claim. The other three have all lost their committee chairmanships.

 

Amid the leadership chaos, Osborne said fixing the public pension plan remains at the top of the to-do list for lawmakers, though no legisation was filed on Tuesday to accomplish that.


“We are still waiting on some information to come back from the retirement systems, regarding some of the language we submitted to them," he said. "The plan is to move as quickly as we possibly can, once we have all the information that we need.”


Another priority, Osborne said, is approving a state spending plan for the next two years. 


“The governor will be presenting his budget on Jan. 16, and certainly that will require an incredible focus of the House and our committees,” hesaid. 

 

Both the House and Senate convene Wednesday at 2 p.m. 

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