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KENTUCKY GOP STATE HOUSE SPEAKER RESIGNS

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Kentucky’s Republican House speaker resigned his leadership post, declaring he did not want the secret sexual harassment settlement he signed to be a distraction from the chamber’s legislative work.

But moments into his announcement Monday, he said the state’s Republican governor was spreading lies about him from the “deepest pits of Hell” and vowed to expose those he says orchestrated his demise, “regardless of who they are and the position they hold.”

While Jeff Hoover will no longer lead the House of Representatives, he still has a seat in the chamber’s back row, where he plans to be a vocal member of the Republican majority. Meanwhile, eight of his Republican colleagues have filed formal disciplinary charges against him and have asked a special committee to recommend the House remove him from office.

“Of course (it will be a distraction.) How could it not be?” asked Republican Rep. Phil Moffett, one of the eight GOP members who signed the charges against Hoover. “It’s only logical to say once this issue is behind us completely, it will not be a distraction anymore.”

Kentucky lawmakers have plenty of work to do. They must fill a nearly billion-dollar budget hole that could require massive spending cuts since the conservative body is averse to tax increases. They have to find a solution for a public pension system that is one of the worst funded retirement plans in the country. And they have to repair a broken leadership structure that has left the House divided.