House minority leader calls for independent harassment investigation; discusses culture in General Assembly

11/08/2017 04:20 PM

UPDATED FRANKFORT — Democrats in the House of Representatives are calling for an independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment that led to a settlement with a high profile member of the House of Representatives, and some reports indicate several other GOP House members.

House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, and other Democratic leaders say Republicans in the House should not be in charge of hiring lawyers to investigate their caucus regarding allegations which have already forced Rep. Jeff Hoover to resign as House speaker on Sunday.

Adkins told Pure Politics in an interview in his fourth floor Capitol Annex office on Wednesday that there needs to be a truly independent body running the investigation, like the Legislative Research Commission.

Democrats could force a meeting of the Legislative Research Commission to push for a third party to run the investigation. Democrats gave Republicans until 5pm on Wednesday to respond to their request.

Adkins issued a statement before the deadline saying that Democratic leaders had their first discussion with Republican House leadership on Wednesday, and “reiterated that the House Democratic leadership’s priority is to have an investigation that is transparent, thorough and independent.

“We are still in discussions to accomplish this goal.”

This is certainly not the only sexual harassment scandal to rock Frankfort, the last coming in 2013 when then Democratic Rep. John Arnold harassed three female legislative staffers.

Some say there is a culture of harassment in the General Assembly, Adkins said that there is more viability of the issue because of “better laws, better statutes, better avenues for people who have been sexually harassed…”

“Can we do better here? Yes, and we need to,” he said. “If there’s laws that need to be strengthened we need to strengthen them. We need to have a place of work here in the Kentucky General Assembly and all other places, as I said that are workplaces as I said that are free of sexual harassment. Zero tolerance.”

Adkins said those in the legislature need to “earn trust,” as lawmakers are being investigated.

As it stands women only make up 16 percent of the General Assembly, and Adkins said that there needs to be more females in politics, especially in the Kentucky General Assembly.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

2 Comments

Comments

  • nutjob wrote on November 09, 2017 06:52 AM :

    Adkins is in a place that he has never been before and now he is finding out what it is like to be in the minority party. When his side held the cards they shut out the Republicans on a regular basis. The only value that Adkins brings is experience holding up the rug that things get swept under. Adkins didn’t get all excited when his members had their office trashed by a mad ex-wife or when his members were talking about breaking headboards with staffers. Rocky needs to get a bag of popcorn and watch the show.

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on November 09, 2017 02:54 PM :

    The Ky news media is being so gentle with this and even misinforming readers by describing the Republicans hiring a law firm as “independent”! It is not independent. The law firm by contract must be loyal to the Republicans who hired them. They don’t have to be loyal to citizens or the constitution. They are being paid by the bad guys themselves!

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