Kentucky pension invoice stalls as key Republican faces sexual harassment claims


A fragile proposal to deal with one of many nation’s most troubled state worker pension plans is in flux after a senior Kentucky Republican deserted his management place within the face of badual harbadment allegations.

The Republican, Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover, mentioned Sunday he would bow to mounting political stress to step down, a day after Gov. Matt Bevin (R) referred to as on him to stop his publish. Hoover will stay within the state House.

“I do not want the story to be about me versus someone else,” Hoover mentioned in an emotional information convention Sunday. “It’s not fair to my caucus members. It’s not fair to the legislative process that I have worked so hard to improve. And it’s not conducive to getting problems solved and addressing the issues facing us.”

Local newspapers final week reported that Hoover and three different legislators had settled badual harbadment claims introduced by a staffer in his management workplace. Hoover has denied wrongdoing, however on Sunday he admitted to exchanging specific texts with the staffer.

“These alleged actions, which haven’t been denied, are reprehensible, indefensible and unacceptable,” Bevin mentioned Saturday. “Any elected official or state employee who has settled a badual harbadment claim should resign immediately.”

Beyond the harbadment claims, there may be an undercurrent of politics operating by way of the feud between Bevin and Hoover, the primary Republican to function state House Speaker in practically a century.

Bevin, Hoover and Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers (R) final month unveiled the outlines of a deal to curb the state’s skyrocketing pension prices. 

The deal would have paid off tens of billions in unfunded pension liabilities for varsity academics and retired state workers, partially by requiring public workers to pay a bigger share of their retirement prices. Current retirees would have given up 5 years of cost-of-living changes, and state workers employed after the center of subsequent 12 months would have been moved off a pension system and into a personal 401(ok) plan.

Kentucky’s public worker pension system has better unfunded liabilities than all however three different states, in keeping with Moody’s Investors Services, which carefully tracks state pension techniques. Moody’s mentioned the Bevin proposal would shut a lot of the hole over the subsequent a number of years.

Public workers railed in opposition to the proposed settlement, and final week Hoover and high House Republicans mentioned they have been now not badured they’d the votes to cross the invoice. That enraged Bevin and Stivers, who each thought Hoover was reneging on a deal, in keeping with sources in Frankfort, Ky.

Bevin’s workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Then got here experiences of Hoover’s misbehavior, one other in a collection of scandals which have engulfed state legislatures throughout the nation as ladies have come ahead to report situations of badual harbadment and badault.

Hoover, combating for his political life final week, mentioned the requires his resignation have been politically motivated by the pension struggle.

“One must wonder why [Bevin] is so motivated to attack us unless his goal is to remove a voice that dares on occasion to disagree with him as I have done when he has made unnecessary statements attacking our teachers, state workers and retirees who are simply looking for better solutions to very serious problems facing our state,” Hoover mentioned Saturday.

Top state Republicans huddled with strategists near Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Senate hopeful rips McConnell for ‘smearing’ conservatives Overnight Finance: House adopts Senate price range, taking step to tax reform | GOP worries Trump feuds will endanger tax plan | Trump talks NAFTA withdrawal with senators | Treasury requires looser oversight of insurers Trump’s Senate oversight vacation should finish MORE (R-Ky.), who was instrumental in serving to his occasion regain management of the state legislature, final week to find out how one can deal with allegations in opposition to Hoover. 

Those leaders explored the potential of launching their very own investigation, exterior of Hoover’s jurisdiction.

It was not instantly clear Monday if that investigation would proceed, even with Hoover staying within the House.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation mentioned Monday it’s investigating experiences of badual harbadment within the state legislature.

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