Bevin, Hoover take war of words from the House floor to Twitter

Bevin, Hoover take war of words from the House floor to Twitter
Rep. Jeff Hoover (L) and Gov. Matt Bevin (R) in happier times. (Source: Justin Hawkins, WAVE 3 News)

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Gov. Matt Bevin took to Twitter on Friday, voicing his frustration at Rep. Jeff Hoover as they squabbled over veto overrides from the House and Senate.

In an eventful day at the capitol marked by throngs of protestors and scores of media coverage, the Kentucky House and Senate both voted to override Gov. Bevin's vetoes of the tax bill (HB 366), budget bill (HB 200) and HB 362 in Frankfort on Friday.

Former Speaker of the House Rep. Jeff Hoover shot back from the House floor with some strong words for the Governor - who volleyed insults in return on Twitter.

"Mr. Speaker, I heard the Governor say last week or read what he said. He said the legislature doesn't understand fiscal policy. The legislature doesn't understand the budget process, but yet unfortunately they are the ones making those decisions," Hoover said.

"And then just a few moments ago, which prompted me to feel compelled to say something he talked about voting for this was a sloppy, voting for a sloppy non-transparent bill. And then he said 'I am stating publicly that I will call a special session to pass a properly balanced budget.'

"All I've got to say is, I listened to this governor last year for months, upon months, upon months say he would call a special session to deal with the pension issue and tax reform. I heard him one afternoon as I was driving from Louisville on the Terry Meiners show and he said just as sure as this is the year 2017, we will have a special session this year, because I always do what I say, I do. And yet we never had a special session.

"So I think it is incumbent upon us as the General Assembly to take action and not count on a special session, because for some of you who may not know, there's a few of us here that have left a session without a budget, and gentleman from Warren as you know as's not pretty. It's not a good situation. We think there is chaos now, leave here without a budget."

In a series of Tweets following Hoover's remarks, Governor Bevin promised to call a special session to pass a balanced budget.. He said the only reason he did not call one last year was because Hoover was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a member of his staff, which kept the House tied up in a leadership dispute.

Rep. Hoover laid out why he thought the House should override the governor's veto of a $480 million tax increase - an increase that would have helped fund public education.

"Maybe the governor doesn't understand that the General Assembly is a separate and equal branch of government. Maybe he doesn't understand the importance of legislative independence. Maybe he doesn't understand - as unfortunately I'm afraid a few here don't - that the legislative branch doesn't work for the executive branch, we work for the people of Kentucky," Hoover said.

"Let the Kentucky House of Representatives be the people's branch of government. Let's move forward and show that we have a plan to fill the gaps in funding for education and we're going to do that because we are the people's branch of government."

The Senate voted 26 to 12 override Gov. Bevin's veto of the budget plan (HB 200). The final vote from the Senate floor came in around 5:45 p.m. The House voted to override the budget plan veto a few hours earlier on Friday, 66 to 28.

The tax plan bill (HB 366) veto was overridden in the Senate by a vote of 20 to 18; the House voted earlier on Friday to override the tax plan veto by a vote of 57-40.

Governor Bevin's office had warned Kentucky lawmakers earlier on Friday that they risked a poorly balanced state budget due to mistakes made in the hurriedly passed tax code overhaul on April 2, which Bevin vetoed this week.

"My team and I have spent the past ten days with tax experts, as well as legislative leaders and staff, analyzing, scoring and attempting to correct House Bill 366, the revenue bill that Governor Bevin vetoed," State Budget Director John Chilton said in a statement released by Bevin on Twitter.

Bevin urged the legislature not to override his vetoes earlier in the week, and asked them to spend the last two days of the legislative session creating a balanced budget that he would sign into law.

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