Kentucky lawmaker exploring plan to reinstate former House Speaker Jeff Hoover
A path of return to the speaker of the House’s chair is seemingly clearing for Rep. Jeff Hoover.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A path of return to the speaker of the House’s chair is seemingly clearing for Rep. Jeff Hoover.
Hoover, a Republican from Jamestown, resigned as Kentucky Speaker of the House in November after revelations of a secret sexual harassment claim settlement surfaced.
Hoover has denied any harassment and instead said he exchanged in “inappropriate text messages” with a statehouse staffer. He remains as a state representative.
Now, some proponents of Hoover say he should continue to lead the commonwealth’s House of Representatives.
“I think he should have let the investigation run its course,” said Richard Heath, a Republican from Mayfield.
Heath believes that because Hoover resigned while the legislature was not in session, he remains the speaker.
“No one can make a motion. No one can resign for him,” Heath said in an interview Tuesday. “He has to do it on the House floor when we're in session, and then we have to vote to accept it.”
Following the resignation of Hoover, Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne took over.
On Dec. 6, House Republican leadership issued a statement on the possibility of Hoover’s resignation not being official saying in part:
“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.
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.”
Based upon Heath’s understanding, all Hoover would have to do to keep his spot as speaker would be to not resign on the House floor when the legislature reconvenes on Jan. 2.
“I think the ball is in (Hoover's) court,” Heath said. “I think he deserves a second chance. I do not feel like the punishment fit the crime.”
Hoover could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
Heath said he’s not alone in wanting Hoover back in his previous post.
“Some of our members like the idea of him remaining out speaker, some do not, some are undecided,” Heath said. “As you can imagine, opinions are all over the board.”
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