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Straus Says He Gave Abbott a ‘Realistic Assessment’ About His Special Session Agenda

”The twenty-for-twenty thing has never been a consideration for us.”

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Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, calls the House of Representatives to order in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
Photograph by Eric Gay/AP Photo

House Speaker Joe Straus tried to give Governor Greg Abbott last week a “realistic assessment” of how the governor’s twenty-item special session agenda will fare in the House. His thoughts? Not well. “The twenty-for-twenty thing has never been a consideration for us,” Straus told Texas Monthly on Monday.

With ten days left to go in the special legislative session, the House and Senate are largely facing the stalemate they had at the end of the regular legislative session. The Senate and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick are demanding bills limiting transgender access to bathrooms and major restrictions on local governments and tax increases, plus other hot-button items. The House, meanwhile, is concentrating on public school finance reform, salvaging teacher retirement healthcare, and paying for therapy for disabled children. Abbott’s call for the special leaned toward Patrick and the social conservative agenda, telling the Austin American-Statesman on Friday that he was optimistic that the session would end with a “Texas that I consider to be far better, more conservative, that will continue the Texas model for conservative governance.”

But in recent weeks, technology companies and oil and gas industry leaders as well as the police chiefs in the state’s major cities have come out against the so-called bathroom bill. City mayors, including some from Republican areas, have expressed frustration with Abbott over property tax legislation he supports, which they believe will harm local growth. In short, the people and industries who once called the shots at the Legislature are now having to fight against a social conservative agenda that they see as potentially harmful to the state’s economic future.

We chatted with Straus about the progress of the special session, and what the House priorities are as the session winds down.

R.G. Ratcliffe: Molly Ivins used to say the business of the Legislature is business. In the course of the regular legislative session and now in the special session, we’ve seen the tech industry, the Texas Association of Business, the oil and gas interests, the police chiefs, the city mayors come out against…

Joe Straus: Educators, leaders of major law firms.

RGR: How has this Legislature gotten so divorced from the community leaders?

JS: I see those voices speaking out more clearly and more consistently, especially in the special session, and making a tremendous difference in what we’re doing. So I see it as a very positive thing. A lot of business leaders and a lot of business voices in this state have realized that they were losing influence, and so they’ve stepped up here in the past several weeks.

RGR: How did we get to this position? What has gone on in state government to get us here?

JS: A lot of it, a lot of why we are where we’ve been, is because too many of our political leaders have focused on divisive social issues instead of focusing on meeting the challenges that are very real facing the state. I see that beginning to change some. That’s a positive thing.

RGR: How is it changing?

JS: Because of the increased engagement of business leaders who I think were taking the “Texas miracle” a little bit for granted. Political leaders were taking it for granted too.

RGR: Has anything made you feel like it has changed for the governor?

JS: This governor or any governor has to be connected to what is happening in the economy and those who are most responsible in the private sector for making growth in the economy happen.

RGR: What is the ultimate end here?

JS: We’ve made some progress. I respect the authority the governor has to lay out an agenda for a special session. This one is very ambitious—twenty, and he’s added some more, and I’m glad he did, to a thirty-day session. To put it in some perspective: He had five priority items for 140 days, and then in a 30-day special session we have 20-plus priority items. We had a very productive week in the House last week and passed bills on all of our top priorities: school finance, retired teacher health care, property tax reform, the children’s therapy issue, all of this in a matter of a few days.

RGR: Are we done when this session ends?

JS: That’s up to the governor, but I had a productive meeting with him last week. I gave him a realistic assessment, a realistic update on what the House’s priorities were and what we were trying to accomplish, and, in a respectful way, going through his agenda. Some of the issues that were unpopular in the House in the regular session remain unpopular in the special. So we’re working diligently through as many of his agenda items as we can and also expressing, as we should, some of the House’s top priorities as well and hopefully he’ll add some to the call before the end.

We passed water bills last week. It rained today, but it’s been a dry summer. There are few things as important to the long-term future of this state as ensuring a future water supply. So we hope the Senate will see things our way on some of these water bills as well.

RGR: One of the things that some of the tea party-type groups have been promoting is the idea that the bathroom bill is not passing because Joe Straus is in the way, and they have their “Oust Straus” theme. Any concern that will become a litmus test in next year’s elections?

JS: This ties back to your first question about the business voices and law enforcement and educators and legal professionals, that particular issue really hasn’t gained a lot of traction up here.

RGR: I’m thinking of the primary contests. Does this become a litmus test?

JS: Those groups live and breath litmus tests. We try hard in the House to keep people together and focusing on issues that really matter to the future of the state. School finance reform, and property tax is closely associated with that, and others. So it would be a never-ending quest to try to satisfy some of those groups and their litmus testing. The House has gotten pretty good at ignoring the threats toward people by entities like that.

RGR: The lieutenant governor last week refocused his attention on attacking cities as Democratic strongholds, and even some of the Republican mayors expressed to the Morning News frustration with trying to make their case with the governor on tax cuts.

JS: Dan Patrick has a history of trying to pit people against each other, and in the House we try to focus on what made Texas a success, not looking to blame anybody, but trying to focus on solving problems. It’s a signal of national politics seeping into Texas. Divisive rhetoric like that doesn’t solve problems.

RGR: Has that hurt the Republican brand in Texas?

JS: You can’t look at elections and say that it has, but it also hasn’t helped us address in meaningful ways some of the problems of the state.

RGR: If you had your druthers, what all would have this session done by the end?

JS: I’m more interested in the House priorities and promoting those. We had a good week again last week, passing school finance, [Teacher Retirement System of Texas] health care, property taxes tied to school finance, and the children’s therapy rate issue was a very real priority of the House. You saw that unanimous vote. Every faction of the House came together to make that strong statement.

One example, and an example that we passed a bill on, is tree regulation. We were happy to pass a tree regulation bill, but we don’t have the same intensity and focus on promoting that as we do addressing the problems that are negatively affecting quite a number of disabled children.

RGR: Did the governor give you any indication on what level of his twenty-for-twenty was acceptable?

JS: We didn’t really go through a percentage or a baseline he had to hit. We went through a number of items on his list and I gave him a frank assessment. But it was a productive and cordial meeting.

RGR: What is your assessment?

JS: It’s not totally up to me. It’s up to the committee chairmen.

RGR: I understand, but you are in a position to have a feel for the House members.

JS: I’m more focused on the top priorities and making certain those happen. The ones below that, if they happen to happen, if they don’t they don’t. So I’m not really looking at it as a percentage or a hard number. I’m more interested in the quality than the quantity.

RGR: If you had SB 4 to do all over again, the sanctuary cities bill, would you handle that differently?

JS: I wouldn’t handle it differently than Chairman [Charlie] Geren did, bringing it to the floor in a responsible way. Some of what occurred on the floor, if I had a chance to do it over again, I probably would have attempted to help find a way for the outcome to be different than it was.

RGR: Are you surprised that issue has remained as divisive as it has?

JS: No, I’m not. It has been a divisive issue ever since it first came up several sessions ago. Unfortunately, the final version of the bill was not as close to Chairman Geren’s version as he introduced it.

RGR: What are the odds that we are done on August 16?

JS: I think the odds are good. We’ll be done on August 16. Beyond that is a question I cannot answer.

RGR: Will you be able to convince the governor that you will have done all that can be done?

JS: The House is going to work diligently through this agenda in a good-faith way. Again, we’re making good progress. The twenty-for-twenty thing has never been a consideration for us.

 

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  • John Bernard Books

    Sounds like Straus is counting on his dem friends to put him in the Guv’s office.

    • roadgeek

      He won’t have my vote. Weak, weak, weak on the illegal alien issue.

      • WUSRPH

        What you see as weakness may be a reflection of the fact that he understands the devastating impact driving undocumented workers from Texas would have on our economy…..

        • SpiritofPearl

          Geek wants to pay $10 for a tomato.

          • WUSRPH

            He probably thinks that there will be some way to get “good Americans” to fill those kinds of a job without having to pay much more, which is totally unrealistic….But, if that does not work he would probably be okay if we went back to the old practice of “selling” convicts to farmers and other businesses. That kills two birds (and some convicts) with one stone—it fills the jobs left vacant by driving out the undocumented workers and lowers the cost of our prison system….In fact, we might even be able to turn it into a profit making business.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Not a sound economic policy . . . wish these folks would stop reading Not-So-Brightbart and study economics . . .

          • Jed

            your continued evocation of the $10 tomato suggests you would rather we keep exploiting undocumented immigrants for their cheap labor.

            how about the pro-labor position? $10 tomatoes would be better for everyone, irrespective of citizenship.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I would advocate for that position if it were realistic. It is not. More likely to get protections for undocumented workers with a guest worker program . . .

          • Jed

            fine. then stop threatening with the $10 tomato, especially just after lecturing someone else on their understanding of economics.

            it just countenances exploitation. the status quo should not be the goal.

          • SpiritofPearl

            “Should” is a big word.

            It’s more realistic to strive for protections for undocumented workers than to lobby for a pay raise. If WASP citizens can’t convince the GOP to raise their minimum wage, it’s less likely that undocumented workers can.

            I’d like to see laws that allow these people to come out of the shadows so they no longer suffocate by the truckload in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio. I’ll worry about their wages once I am convinced their lives will be protected. The current system is murderous. Those are my priorities.

          • Jed

            fair enough. but i think you needlessly combine and serialize issues.

            we can advocate both for human rights and for labor rights at the same time; we don’t have to choose one at the expense of the other. and we certainly don’t need to encourage continued labor exploitation in the meantime …

            maybe you can find a different way to express your disgust at the consequences of human smuggling than by encouraging people to think of their wallets?

          • SpiritofPearl

            You want all injustice corrected simultaneously. That’s unrealistic. I prioritize. Americans are more likely to rebel against a process that hits them in the pocketbook than because it is unjust. There is a price point beyond which anti-immigration bubbas will bellow. “$10 for a tomato” is simply a rallying cry.

          • SpiritofPearl

            A $10 tomato is an unsustainable price. A pizza would cost $100. Corporate Food will simply get tomatoes from another country.

      • John Bernard Books

        He may be counting on Linebarger to do a little voter harvesting in his favor….lots of illegals in Texas getting tax payer funded dollars.

  • John Bernard Books

    Meanwhile I’ll keep reporting on the stories that the Hobby owned TM doesn’t
    “The information provided to the state Attorney General’s office at the beginning of 2016 claims that Linebarger has paid to gain votes for select candidates, funneling money through a series of agents including Perez. That money then flows to canvassers who allegedly manipulate the mail-in ballot process.

    Most of the races are local, including the Fort Worth Independent School District and the city council.”
    https://texasmonitor.org/linebarger-voter-fraud-probe/?utm_content=buffercc72b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson is bottom of the barrel sleaze….

    • WestTexan70

      Your source is that bottom of the barrel cage liner?

      That’s pathetic.

  • WUSRPH

    Straus once more proves he understands what is truly important to the long-term interests of the state….but I fear that we next March we may once again find out that Dan Patrick and his ilk have a better feeling for what to do to fire up the passions of the GOP primary voters with myths and hate but I hope I am wrong.

    • Kellyjcummings

      Sys54a

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  • Kozmo

    What “tree regulation” bill is he referring to?

    I hope Strauss has not sold out the cities on their ability to decide how best to protect heritage trees from rapacious developers.

    Abbott has a unreasoning mean streak in him against trees. No wonder one tried to take him out.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Which came first – the accident or the hatred of trees?

    • rcmphoto

      Straus IS an R… given a choice between money and anything else, he’ll go for the money. He’d be lynched by his own otherwise.

  • WUSRPH

    Questions for the day: Will Dannie Scott sabotage the special session like he did the regular session if he doesn’t get his way on the bathroom and anti-local government bills? Will Gov. Abbott approve of that policy (in advance)?

    • BCinBCS

      Re: P.S. => 😉

  • WUSRPH

    If you want to see what the House’s priorities are for the special you need to keep track of what goes onto the Daily Calendar because, if a bill does not get on that list, it is effectively DEAD. Calendars have been posted thru Thursday and about the only thing of importance on is what they DO NOT include—the bathroom bill, limits on property taxes, attempts to resurrect the hold harmless extension or annexation limits and vochers—all the major issues that Dannie Scott and Greg have been pushing so hard, none of which have been calendar…..In fact, the only bills that fall on the governor’s 20 for 20 list that have been placed on a calendar, are the Senate/s version of the sunset bills which are up for a House vote on Thursday which are actually the only “must pass” bills in the special session….Of course, some of those could be added to future calendars, but several of them are still in House committees…..but with only seven days remaining in the session things are no looking that good for the governor’s list.

    • BCinBCS

      W, do you see another Special on the horizon or do you think that Abbott will declare victory and move on?

      • WUSRPH

        I think that depends on how the outcome of the session is “seen” and how it is portrayed to the public…..If its seen as being a major loss for Abbott (“gov. gets no major bills”, “House rebukes governor”, etc.) and Abbott’s ego is severely damaged (“weak governor”, etc.).. I think there is a real chance that he may call them back in February, during the primary election campaigns, and try to make his demands major issues in some of the races for the Texas House. A factor in all of this is how Dan Patrick reacts to whatever happens….He could well “encourage” the governor by complaining about the “House being out-of-step with Texas” and how we need stronger leadership to accomplish the goal of making Texas even more conservative.

        On the other hand, if they get the Sunset bills, and some sort of property tax caps (on which the House will vote on Saturday) and their anti-voter fraud proposals, they could well call it is win and let it go….Personally—and based on only what I can see from afar—I would probably place at least a small bet on there being another session before the primaries…but I sure hope I am wrong.

        • Hannibal

          Now do you see? Now do you finally see?

          In an unprecedented abuse of power, House Speaker Joe Straus this evening unilaterally adjourned the Texas House without warning a day before the special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott was scheduled to end. In doing so, he ignored loud objections from the floor and denied members their right to vote on the move.
          The adjournment killed the key issues in Gov. Abbott’s agenda, such as property tax reform, spending limits, privacy protections, paycheck protection, and more.
          It is Straus’s most insolent rebuke yet of Gov. Abbott’s authority to call a special session, and the basic foundations of our constitutional order.

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  • WUSRPH

    One of Dannie Scott’s big issues—which he got the governor to sign onto—is putting a garrote around the state’s fiscal neck with an artificial limit on “the rate of the growth of spending” that, over a period of years, would leave the state without the resources to meet the public’s needs, forcing the government to cut back on what it does and provide much fewer services.. For example, one estimate I’ve seen is that, if this provision had been in place for the past decade, the existing state budget would be at least $40 billion smaller than it is now.
    Patrick has been able to push it thru the Senate during the last two regular sessions and did so again during this special but the House has, so far, not gone along with his plans. However, on the surface it looks like that situation may be changing as the House Ways & Means Committee approved a substitute for a similar House bill, HB 208, last Friday. This should have been in plenty of time for the bill to be placed before the full House before the special ends on the 16th. Funny thing, however, is that even though today is five days since the committee officially voted, the bill is still not yet eligible to be even put on a House Calendar….The problem being that it appears that the paperwork to officially report the bill and send it onto the Calendars Committee for its consideration has not completed and until that happens the bill is just sitting there unable to move further thru the legislative process. .
    Back in days of long ago (the early 1970s) when I was a committee clerk in the House both I and my chair and committee members would have been more than disturbed by it taking five days to check the forms and move the paper so the bill can get to the next stage. In fact, I did not go home the day a bill was reported from my committee until all the paperwork was completed. The only exception would be if the committee had made major changes in the bill so that it had to be redrafted or if a revised fiscal note was required…..But, in the worst case, that would delay a bill for only a day or two…..We placed so much emphasis on moving bills quickly because TIME is the one thing in the legislative process for which there is no substitute…A hour or a day “lost” can mean the life or death of a bill…..This is especially true in a special session which lasts only 30 days…But that does not seem to be the case in today’s legislature, as the case of SB 9/HB 208 might suggest, In fact, I’ve noted over the past few sessions that it seems to be taking longer and longer to process a bill out of a committee after it has been officially approved by the panel. Part of that may be attributed to the fact that additional items have been added to the list of things included in the committee report on a bill, but I have to wonder whether sometimes the process is dragged out with the specific intent to make it harder to pass. But, of course, no legislator would do such a thing.

    • BCinBCS

      But, of course, no legislator would do such a thing.

      Are you being truthful of facetious? (serious question)

      • WUSRPH

        facetious…….delay is a long-established tactical maneuver in the Legislature. It is one of the strongest tools available to opponents of a measure….but I hate to see it extended down to this level of committee staff work. I like to think that back in the old days we were too “professional” for such things… and, as we were the first year-round committee staff, that we were setting precedents that would be followed. (Prior to 73 the committees were only staffed during a session.) But I ran into this problem when I went back to the House for a short time in 2005-06 to help out a friend and found—or believe I found–a committee chair was being a real Janus on a bill of importance to us by giving us a hearing (at which it was approved) but then dragging out the processing to appease opponents. It was one of the things that convinced me that I no longer belonged there.

        • WUSRPH

          HB 208, the House version of the limit on the growth of state spending (Patrick’s garrote on state government) has FINALLY made its way thru the paperwork process to be officially out of committee….That means it is theoretically possible that it could be voted on by the House before the session ends next Wednesday….BUT it would probably have to placed on a Calendar for action by no later than Sunday. (The Calendars thru Saturday are already set).

          If the House continues taking the two-calendar days to pass a bill, this means it could not get to the Senate until Monday, giving the Senate less than two days to refer it to committee, report it back to the Senate and vote on it…..And, since the House version makes a significant change, it might have to go to conference, be approved there and then be finally adopted by both chambers—all before Wednesday night at midnight. That is cutting it close, needless-to-say. Delay has its purposes after all.

          The major difference is that the Senate version would have limited group in spending from federal funds as well as those from state revenues while the House exempts federal dollars from the calculation. With the Senate version the Congress could, for example, pass a major expansion of the highway bill (say as part of Trump’s nebulous “infrastructure” plan) but Texas would be effectively banned from spending all but a small portion of the new funding. The same could apply to any new federal funding for health care in replacement of the ACA. The House would allow Texas to accept and spend this find of new funding….

          There is slim chance that the Senate will take the House plan as being “better than nothing”…but I would not count on it.

          • WUSRPH

            One other point….even this version of the HB is a significant concession since the last time (in 2015) the House went as far as to pass anything on the subject. Back then it passed what was nicknamed “The LBB’s bill” which replaced spending growth limits on the total budget with limits that covered the growth in various sectors of spending. This would have allowed some sectors—where there was greater demand–to growth faster than others. Patrick, of course, rejected this because wants to place a garrote all of State government spending. I can’t not determine whether the House has given in as far as it has because of the pressure of the special session, but it is still a major change.

          • WUSRPH

            Another interesting difference has been pointed out to me between what the Senate proposed in its SB 9 and the House calls for in HB 208 is that the House bill applies the spending growth limit to spending for HIGHWAYS, where the Senate somehow seemed to left them out of its calculations…..

            I guess the House thought that consistency was important….but this is one that is sure
            to bring the highway lobby out in force…They have spent the last several sessions increasing state funding for highways dedicating both Rainy Day and General Revenue Funds to highways….but this would limit the growth of that spending, just like for the rest of government…

            Sometimes creating major differences also has a purpose.

        • Jed

          it’s not unprofessional for staffers to prevent nonsense from becoming law, it is good representation.

          thank god for the unelected.

          • WUSRPH

            Sorry to disagree…..but it is very, very unprofessional for “staffers to prevent nonsense from becoming law” and I say that as someone who was such a staffer for nearly 35 years. Staffers ARE NOT ELECTED….they have no right to make decisions for the ELECTED MEMBERS. Good staffers have a DUTY to tell the elected representatives of the people when they believe they are wrong….But, as an old member told me many years ago…”It is easy for you to be pure…You don’t have to go home and explain your vote.”

            A staffer who has significant differences with what is going on…should resign….but he or she cannot substitute their judgement for that of the elected member…..even if they feel it is a “moral issue”….Should a practice is anarchy, not representational government.

          • Jed

            certainly not. anarchy is the absence of laws. staffers influencing the legislative process is not the breakdown of all law and order (understatement in this case – it may be the only thing preserving it).

            you don’t like the idea of laws coming from unelected officials. i get it. many texans don’t (that’s why we elect judges, ferrinstance). but that doesn’t mean it is illegitimate. we disagree over what makes a democracy democratic and what makes representation representative. your professional experience is well and good, but this is a conceptual disagreement (in which i am not unqualified to have a position). we have fundamentally different ideas about what makes the government, its actions, and its officials legitimate (or not).

          • WUSRPH

            We are after all a “representative democracy”….that means that laws are made by the elected representatives, not staff members or even the infamous “unelected bureaucrats”….Using the system we have to pass a measures makes the act legally “legitimate”……..However, that does not necessarily make it logical, good or even moral.
            You, however, appear to believe that a law must meet one or more, if not all, of those conditions to be legitimate.

          • Jed

            just because you keep saying it doesn’t make it so.

            a “representative democracy” might choose its officials any of a number of ways, including (but not limited to) election. your depiction of representative democracy is far too simplistic.

            for example: laws are made by elected representatives, yes. also involved in the legislative process is the executive branch (including interpretation and enforcement of of statues by unelected bureaucrats) and the judicial branch (who interpret law and are the final arbiters of constitutionality … and who are a mixed bag of elected versus appointed), to say nothing of the legislative staffers you were initially concerned about. all these officials are part of the legislative process, and more importantly, part of the form of government you are calling a representative democracy.

  • WUSRPH

    Anyone have any speculations, based on events and the interview with Straus on another thread, of just what that “realistic assessment” was?

    How about—

    The gov. gets: a slightly watered down version of the property tax caps….plus the stuff on voter fraud…a compromised “tree” bill and some limits on annexation but only in the biggest counties of over 500,000 population, and on education he gets an extenuation of the ASATR relief, less Robin Hood and his study commission and probably the increase money for special needs students funneled thru the public schools but NO vouchers.. (Plus the mysterious selling of fireworks who wants a 20-year right to continue selling in otherwise prohibited areas, get his special privilege.)

    BUT, he does not get: bathrooms, caps on local and state spending, his limits on city permits and the rest of his anti-local government garbage or vouchers.

    Is that enough for him to claim VICTORY FOR CONSERVATISM IN TEXAS and leave everybody along until the 2019 session? Any thoughts?

    • Hannibal

      Look at it. Just look at it.

      Strauss is a putz, pure an simple.

  • WUSRPH

    As you may have seen, SB 6, the anti-annexation bill, has been revived and is once again on the House Calendar. This time it will be without the unconstitutional “closed bracket” that resulted in a successful point of order the first time it was before the House….but the special privilege for some fireworks seller is still in it. Does anyone know just who this guy is and how he got enough influence to get this special protection?

  • WUSRPH

    Those few out there who think in the “long-term” (which automatically excludes most voters and the majority of Texas state government officials) might be interested in a new study by the Texas Taxpayers & Research Association. It outlines funding gaps the Legislature has created for itself when it comes back in 2019….The tab is about $8 BILLLION SHORT….and the legislature isn’t even finished running up the bill yet.

    Of course, considering that the 2015 legislature created as automatic cut in general revenues of over $9.1 billion, some folks might see $8 billion as an improvement.

    You wonder how long this policy of smoke and mirrors, delayed expenditures and under counting costs can go on….It has already resulted in a smaller state budget this year than last time—as the Patrick style garrote squeezes the ability of the state to meet its needs—-but this policy of betting on the come can’t work forever. But, I guess the state will run it as far as it can.

    You can find the study either thru a link from the Quorum Report or by going to the TTRA web page.

  • WUSRPH

    Today’s North Korea developments:

    More threats, but at least this time the NK has to do more than just “threaten” its neighbors to actually do something…I guess his advisors got him to change the terms of “fire and fury”…

    It is, of course, theoretically possible for the US to do a first strike on NK that would not use nuclear weapons….the only problem being that you’d have to totally paralyze its capacity to strike back AND make sure it could not find some way to response with a nuke of its own…..Getting rid of Kim, et al at the price of the lives of several MILLION residents of Seoul is not a price that anyone, including The Most High (you would hope), would think is acceptable.

  • Plowboy87

    The days of Straus being in the Speakers Chair are coming to a close with more and more Counties voting no confidence in him, including his home county. Also, Chairman Tan Parker has scheduled a meeting of the House Republican Caucus for the sole purpose of discussing and/or adopting a procedure to determine our nominee for Speaker of the House for Thursday, August 17th at 9 am. Onward.

  • Hannibal

    Yeah, a “realistic assessment” based on this RINO POS involved in mutual a__ kissing with the Democrats to defeat the will of the majority of the voters of Texas. When are our Republican reps going to grow a pair and team up to kick Strauss out?

    • SeeItMyWay

      Specifically name what Straus is holding up that you deem important.

      • Hannibal

        List the bills of this special session and tell us what happened to each and then you’ll answer your own question.

        • WUSRPH

          I suggest you wait until the special session ENDS before you start talking about things not being allowed to pass…Quite a number of those you think are dead may actually pass…as the movement of such measures as the anti-planned parenthood and the cap on state spending….Of course, you may be judging everything on the status of the bathroom bill…More likely, Straus could pass 20 for 20 and you would still hate him….since your views have nothing to do with the issues.

          BYW, not even Dannie Scott Goeb has been able to pass ALL of Abbott’s proposals—-but you probably think, like he does, that he is a personal representative of God.

          • Hannibal

            What a dumbaxx you are, assuming this and assuming that. I have little interest in the bathroom bill which I think is much ado about pretty much nothing. You are completely ignorant of me, yet you talk like you can read my mind. You can’t.

          • WUSRPH

            I repeat….wait till the session is over before you judge anyone or anything…..There are three full days left in the session….and many things can happen between now and 12 a.m. Thursday. You will have no basis to make any claims that he has blocked good bills until then.

          • Hannibal

            Good. You’re making progress. You managed to write a reply without being a smartaxx.

          • Hannibal

            OK, it’s over! Now what?

            In an unprecedented abuse of power, House Speaker Joe Straus this evening unilaterally adjourned the Texas House without warning a day before the special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott was scheduled to end. In doing so, he ignored loud objections from the floor and denied members their right to vote on the move.
            The adjournment killed the key issues in Gov. Abbott’s agenda, such as property tax reform, spending limits, privacy protections, paycheck protection, and more.
            It is Straus’s most insolent rebuke yet of Gov. Abbott’s authority to call a special session, and the basic foundations of our constitutional order.

          • Hannibal

            You were all over this about waiting until the session was over. OK, it is over. All of a sudden, you’re silent. Have you gone into witness protection?

          • WUSRPH

            If you bothered to read, you would see that I gave a preliminary analysis of the session last night (on the “tourist industry” thread, above…and that I also requested that RG do an analysis of the session both of what passed and did not pass and the roles of the leadership. He did at least part of that today….(see newest thread).
            What I said last night—and said again today—was from my view although the worst did not happen that the session, in total, was bad on Texas. You, of course, will disagree…but, contrary to your claims, I have not been silent—although many would certainly like that.’
            As to Straus, I continue to have questions about the claim some make that he is single-handedly “saving” Texas from the radical extremists…..Texas does not have a unicameral legislature, which means that the House plays an equal role in passing legislation… and a lot that it has passed is, in my view, bad legislation….

          • Hannibal

            A whole lot of verbiage, something you seem to be good at. Look, you’re a Democrat and you’ve got your spin. However, the fact is that Strauss exercises his power over and over to thwart the will of the People, through their elected Representatives. He does it by appointments to committees and by manipulating the legislative process. As a Democrat, you like this, as a libertarian leaning Republican, I do not.

          • WUSRPH

            What you accuse Straus of doing is what EVERY SPEAKER of the Texas House, the US House or the House of any state in the union has done since they have been in existence….It is, perhaps unfortunately, the way our representational government works….

            PS…If you think Straus has too much power over the way the House operates, you should perhaps take a closer look at the Senate where the Lt. Governor has substantially more power over the proceedings. Of course, you may not object so strenuously because Patrick probably does more of the things you want….

            A few examples:

            * The House has a limited seniority system which makes it impossible for the Speaker to name al the members of a committee. ALL members of all committees are appointed by the Lt. Governor.

            * Up to GOP Speaker Tom Craddick’s famous ruling, it was tradition in the House that the Speaker would recognize all members who wanted to speak….Straus basically does that. In the Senate Patrick has total and complete control of who gets recognized or not.

            *In the House the decision on which bills to place before the House is made by a committee of the members…..and there are provisions in the House Rules to force it to act if it is standing in the way of the majority’s wishes….In the Senate, Patrick has TOTAL & COMPLETE CONTROL of when, how or whether a member will be recognized to bring a bill up for debate. It makes no difference if all 31 senators want the bill. If Patrick opposes it, it will never come up.

            Talk about a undemocratic concentration of power…..That’s the Senate.

            As such, I suggest you direct some of your libertarian anger at Patrick, too.