KY GOP will not seek immediate replacement for former House speaker

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Leadership of the House Republican Caucus said there will not be an election to replace Jeff Hoover as speaker when lawmakers convene either in a special session this month on pension reform, or when the regular session convenes in January.

A statement was issued by Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect; Majority Leader Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster; Majority Whip Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville; and Majority Caucus Chair David Meade, R-Stanford.

"After meeting as a Republican caucus and consulting with attorneys regarding the Kentucky Constitution and the Rules of the Kentucky House of Representatives, we have determined as a caucus that the House will operate as is when the General Assembly next gavels into session," the statement reads.

"As such, David Osborne will remain acting speaker of the House, and the rest of the Republican leadership team will remain in their positions. We believe this is what the Constitution and Rules of the House provide as a remedy for the situation in which we find ourselves.

"The Republican caucus remains committed to solving the pension crisis, passing a balanced state budget responsive to Kentucky's difficult fiscal circumstances, and continuing to work with Gov. Bevin and the Kentucky Senate to create pro-growth policies that lead to jobs and opportunity for the people of Kentucky."

Questions had been swirling about whether an election for speaker would be held by the House following the recent settlement involving allegations of sexual harassment, against four House members, including former Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, who resigned his leadership position on Nov. 5 after the settlement with a now former House staffer came to light.

Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green, Brian Linder of Dry Ridge, and Michael Meredith of Brownsville were the others named in the settlement. All three were removed from committee chairmanships by the remaining House GOP leaders. Media reports have also identified Hoover Chief of Staff Ginger Wills as one of the parties in the settlement.

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