Northern Kentucky University law professor named to state ethics commission

Stivers, Stumbo jointly appoint Henry Stephens

By Kevin Wheatley, Published:

A Northern Kentucky University law professor was tapped Monday to fill a seat on the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission left vacant for two years.

Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo jointly appointed Henry Stephens, who teaches at NKU’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law. With Stephens, the commission now has full membership.

“I’m happy that President Stivers and I could come together to make this appointment,” said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. “I think Professor Stephens is a good choice because of his long and distinguished career at Chase Law School.”

Stephens was associate dean of the law school from 1981 through 1985 before serving as dean from 1986 through June 1992, according to a news release. He served in the 1970s as a special assistant in the Attorney General’s Office and staff attorney in the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet. He also has experience in private practice, the release states.

“Professor Stephens also has a background working in state government and has received mediation training at Harvard, two other pluses in his favor,” Stivers, R-Manchester, said in the release.  “I’m confident he will be an outstanding member in the years ahead.”

The ethics commission’s members faced criticism after five panelists attended an initial hearing in April of sexual harassment complaints brought by three female Legislative Research Commission staffers against former state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis. The commission voted 4-1 to find Arnold guilty, but actions by the panel must have five affirmative votes to pass.

The commission reopened the hearing a month later and voted 5-1 to punish Arnold with $3,000 in fines and a public reprimand. Arnold’s attorney has said he plans to appeal the ruling, arguing the panel’s inaction in April ended the matter.

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