Politics

FRANKFORT — The state Legislative Research Commission argued at a court hearing Monday that none of its members can be sued in an ongoing harassment case due to a state law that permits immunity to lawmakers.

The LRC’s governing body is made up of 16 legislative leaders from the House and Senate.

The case stems from allegations by female state House staffers who alleged they were sexually harassed and assaulted by former state Rep. John Arnold.

“The legislature, the Senate and the House are immune from being sued for violation of state and federal Civil Rights law,” said  Leslie Vose, a private attorney hired by the LRC.

“It’s a clear, black-letter law, and we’ve asked the court to address it before we go further.”

Vose said the matter has already been appropriately settled by the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, which found Arnold guilty of three counts of harassment and fined him $3,000.

David Ward, an attorney representing the women, said that legislative immunity doesn’t apply to the LRC as an entity, and that Arnold and other members of the legislature should be named as defendants. The next hearing in the case is Oct. 15.