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

FORECAST: Scattered storms bring cold rain; temps mainly in the 40s 
FORECAST: Scattered storms bring cold rain; temps mainly in the 40s 

Thursday forecast for Austin: It’s miserable out there. Scattered storms rolled through Central Texas in the predawn hours Thursday and more rain is likely throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service. With new storms possible in the afternoon, Austin could get up to a quarter-inch of rain or higher in places where stronger thunderstorms...
Packed town hall showcases finalists for Austin Public Health director
Packed town hall showcases finalists for Austin Public Health director

A town hall Wednesday night showcased the two finalists running to become Austin Public Health’s next director. Stephanie Hayden, the current interim director, and Dr. Philip Huang, with the department’s Disease Prevention and health Promotion Division, are the two remaining candidates vying to lead the department that manages a variety...
79-year-old woman safe after being reported missing, police say
79-year-old woman safe after being reported missing, police say

8:45 a.m. Thursday: Austin police say 79-year-old Herminia Gomez, who was reported missing Wednesday, has been found and is safe.  Wednesday: Austin police are asking for the public’s help in finding a 79-year-old woman that went missing in North Austin.  Herminia Gomez was last seen Wednesday about 1:30 p.m. near...
Texas Democrats see big jump in turnout on first day of early voting

In the state’s 15 counties with the most registered voters, 51 percent more Democrats voted Tuesday, the first day of early voting for the party’s March 6 primary, than voted on the first day of early of voting for the 2014 Democratic primary. Meanwhile, the number of Republican primary voters on Tuesday increased by just 16 percent in...
Will Abbott take advice on Whitaker’s death sentence?
Will Abbott take advice on Whitaker’s death sentence?

Whether Gov. Greg Abbott spares death row inmate Thomas Whitaker from Thursday evening’s scheduled execution could hinge on how much trust the governor places on the group of advisers who recommended mercy in the case. Spurred by the father who Whitaker tried to have killed in 2003, all seven members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles supported...
More Stories