Gov. Abbott calls out Speaker Straus for failures of special session


Gov. Greg Abbott laid the blame for the failure of the Legislature to pass half of his 20-item special session agenda on the House and its Republican speaker, Joe Straus, laying the groundwork for a challenge to Straus in the next session.

In an interview with KTRH radio in Houston Wednesday morning, Abbott said he was gratified by the progress made in the special session, which ended a day earlier than expected Tuesday, but unhappy with the failure of the House to even vote on nine of his agenda items.

“I’m disappointed that all 20 items did not receive the up or down vote that I wanted,” the governor said.

While the Senate worked quickly to pass 18 of his priorities at session’s start, Abbott said the House was “dilly-dallying” on unrelated matters, and laid the blame at the doorstep of the speaker, who he said had made plain during the regular session that he would block any transgender bathroom legislation in a regular or special session and delivered on that promise.

“He was not tricky. He was open and overt that he would not let it on the House floor,” Abbott said.

The governor said he was especially disappointed that the session ended without agreeing on his top priority of property tax reform. He said he could call another special session at any time, but it would not make sense to do so with the same cast of characters, suggesting, “that’s why elections matter.”

That seemed to be an invitation to members of the House Freedom Caucus to seek to replace Straus in the next session. In that he is on the same page at Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who blistered Straus at a sine die press conference Tuesday night.

The House Republican Caucus met Wednesday morning to talk about the rules for electing a speaker.

Abbott also said that Republican members of the House ought to be held accountable for their votes, or the House’s failure to vote.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Mother accused of using kids to steal from Macy’s at Domain, police say
Mother accused of using kids to steal from Macy’s at Domain, police say

Austin police are looking for a woman who they say stole merchandise from a Macy’s department store with the help of another woman and four children no older than 10 years old. Investigators are looking for 27-year-old Martha Monique Lopez, who is charged with robbery by assault, according to an arrest affidavit filed against her this week. On...
Here are the Austin theaters showing Pixar’s ‘Coco’ dubbed into Spanish
Here are the Austin theaters showing Pixar’s ‘Coco’ dubbed into Spanish

“Coco,” the new film from Disney Pixar, concerns young Miguel Rivera, a Mexican boy from a family of shoemakers who loves music, contrary to his family’s dislike of the stuff. Naturally, he ends up in the land of the dead to address the problem at hand. (And yes, there’s more plot than that.) Already the all-time highest...
COMMUNITY NEWS: Austin nonprofit heads up Giving Tuesday campaign

CENTRAL TEXAS Nonprofit heads up Giving Tuesday campaign The Austin nonprofit I Live Here, I Give Here will be the Central Texas official community leader for Giving Tuesday, an annual global event that takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The organization is participating in the campaign by kicking off the year-end giving season through...
Court upholds conviction in SXSW crash that killed 4 in 2014
Court upholds conviction in SXSW crash that killed 4 in 2014

A state appeals court Wednesday upheld the capital murder conviction of Rashad Owens in a series of automobile crashes that killed four during the 2014 South by Southwest music festival in downtown Austin. Owens, who is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, asked the 3rd Court of Appeals to overturn his conviction, arguing that...
Pay raises, hiring initiatives usher in Texas CPS improvements
Pay raises, hiring initiatives usher in Texas CPS improvements

More caseworkers are staying on the job and workloads have plummeted almost a year after state officials provided $12,000 pay raises to employees in the Texas child welfare system, which had been plagued by child deaths and delays in visiting children in reported abusive homes. After the raises went into effect in January, the percentage of staff leaving...
More Stories