The Latest: Lawmakers seek expulsion of Kentucky GOP speaker
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on sexual harassment allegations in the Kentucky House of Representatives (all times local):
Eight Republican lawmakers in Kentucky have asked for GOP House Speaker Jeff Hoover to be removed from office after he settled a sexual harassment complaint with a woman in his office.
The lawmakers filed the disciplinary charges Wednesday. They accuse Hoover of sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment and using his position as a legislator to cover it up. Under new House rules adopted Tuesday, a bipartisan committee of three Republicans and three Democrats will investigate. Republican Rep. Jerry Miller will vote in the event of a tie.
Hoover did not respond to a request for comment. He has denied sexual harassment, but said he sent inappropriate but consensual text messages to a woman who once worked for the House Republican Caucus.
Several Kentucky lawmakers have filed disciplinary charges against Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover.
House Clerk Melissa Bybee-Fields confirmed a form was filed with her office Wednesday. She declined to release it, saying it was not a public document.
Republican Rep. Phil Moffett said he and several other members filed the charges. He declined to specify what the charges were, nor would he identify the other complainants. Under the new House rules, a bipartisan committee of six lawmakers will investigate. Republican Rep. Jerry Miller of Louisville will vote in the event of a tie.
Meanwhile, the Legislative Ethics Commission is looking into a sexual harassment settlement signed by Hoover and three other Republican lawmakers last year.
Hoover announced his resignation as speaker in November. But Tuesday, Hoover said he would temporarily step aside while the investigation is ongoing.
An anti-sexual harassment training session for Kentucky state representatives has been closed to the public.
Legislative Research Commission Director David Byerman said Wednesday that the state’s open meetings law does not apply because lawmakers are not conducting legislative business. He said if reporters were allowed in the meeting lawmakers likely would not feel free to ask candid questions.
The Associated Press objected to the meeting being closed.
The annual training has drawn more attention this year because it comes one day after GOP House Speaker Jeff Hoover temporarily stepped aside while the Legislative Ethics Commission investigates the circumstances surrounding a sexual harassment settlement that he and four other Republican lawmakers signed.
Hoover attended Wednesday’s training, but declined to comment to reporters.
Kentucky lawmakers must attend training to prevent sexual harassment, one day after the House speaker temporarily ceded power while investigators probe a secret sexual harassment settlement signed by four Republicans.
Jeff Hoover had announced he would resign as speaker two months ago shortly after acknowledging he secretly settled a sexual harassment claim outside of court with a woman who worked for the House Republican Caucus.
But Tuesday, Hoover did not resign, instead authorizing House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne to preside over the chamber “until further notice.”
Meanwhile, Hoover and others must attend mandatory anti-harassment training on Wednesday, part of reforms put in place several years ago after some state workers sued a former Democratic state representative for sexual harassment.