Calls being made to reinstate Rep. Hoover as speaker of house, uncertainty if Hoover officially resigned

12/18/2017 10:59 AM

Even though Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, resigned as speaker of the House of Representatives on Nov. 5 in front of television cameras the state Constitution may have a different view of his ability to resign outside of a session, and according to some members of the the General Assembly Rep. Hoover is still speaker.

Multiple members of the General Assembly have confirmed to Pure Politics that phone calls are being made among the Republican House caucus members by Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield, in an effort to reinstate Hoover as speaker, a position he gave up less than a year into the role amid reports of a secret sexual harassment settlement with a House staffer.

Heath confirmed that he has been making the calls the last two-weeks in an effort to reinstate Hoover, who he says officially is still speaker. The state Constitution, according to Heath and others looking into the matter, calls for Hoover to officially resign the post to the body when it’s in session — a step that has not taken place — and thus, Hoover would technically still be speaker. Still, Heath is testing the waters for a return to leadership by Hoover.

The Mayfield Republican, who has been aligned with Republican U.S. Rep. James Comer, a former House member in the past, said he has been acting alone in seeking Hoover’s reinstatement as speaker.

“It’s going to come down to his decision his call,” Heath said about Hoover’s decision. “It seems to me that based on the information Rep. Nemes, Rep. McCoy shared with our caucus the door is open legally if he wants to come back.

“Technically he is still speaker, even though he resigned in front of a TV camera, so what he wants do with that now — the ball is in his court,” Heath continued.

Hoover did not immediately return a phone call from Pure Politics.

Gov. Matt Bevin has continued his calls in recent weeks for Hoover, and three others from the GOP caucus who have settled the suit to resign from office.

Heath told Pure Politics that he felt like Hoover should not have resigned, and would not have resigned “had he not received so much pressure from the governor.”

Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Eastwood, and Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, both confirmed to Pure Politics on Monday that they had received the calls “testing the waters” for Hoover’s return. Miller said it was Heath who called him, Koenig refused to confirm who called on Hoover’s behalf.

Koenig said there was “legal murkiness” among lawmakers about Hoover’s position, and whether or not a new speaker could be placed according to the Constitution. Speaker Pro Tem Rep. David Osborne, R-Prospect, has been acting as speaker since Nov. 5.

Among the arguments laid out to Koenig was a belief that an investigation into the matter “showed no wrong doing.”

Miller said that Heath told him, that the preliminary report “didn’t rise to the level that Jeff should have to resign the speakership.”

The Eastwood Republican told Pure Politics that he was reserving his judgement until a final report is produced from the Legislative Ethics Commission.


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