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Straus not very excited about Patrick’s potty bill

Take this for what it’s worth.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus doesn’t think passing a transgender bathroom bill is a pressing issue state lawmakers need to address during the 2017 legislative session.

“This isn’t the most urgent concern,” Straus, R-San Antonio, said on Tuesday during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. When asked if it was a priority, he added, “It isn’t. But that doesn’t mean the House is going to feel differently than I do.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said passing the bathroom bill is a top priority for him this session. Straus has expressed concern with the proposal, echoing business concerns that it will result in a huge economic loss for the state.

“We don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes that,” Straus said, referring to major events the state risks losing, like San Antonio hosting the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2018. “I know the lieutenant governor is very enthusiastic about this. Let him run with it. We’ll see what the House wants to do.”

Let’s be clear about two things. One is that Straus can affect the fate of a given bill, if he really wants to. He can affect it by his committee chair appointments, which in turn can affect which committee gets a particular bill. This is old school Lege craft of long standing – the best way to kill a bill is to ensure it never gets out of committee. This can be done in ways that leave no obvious fingerprints, at least none that are visible to anyone who isn’t an obsessive follower of this sort of thing. So if Straus has a tacit understanding with the business lobby that any potty bill must die, he can make it happen without looking like he’s making it happen.

That said, such a style is more of a piece with former Speaker Tom Craddick than it is with Straus. Craddick fell out of favor with some Republicans in part because he put a heavy thumb on the scale of the bill-managing process. Straus’ MO has been to let the will of the House be the determining factor on most bills. He stays out of the way and whatever happens, happens. That’s a bit of an overstatement – all Speakers exert influence when they see fit to do so – but Straus is definitely subtle about it. Whatever does happen, Straus will say that this is how the House wanted it. The Trib has more.

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  1. Bill Daniels says:

    I don’t understand how Strauss stays in power. I would love to see him get primaried, or, dare to dream, get beaten by a freedom loving Libertarian. Having said that, Strauss, by law of averages, has to be right every once in a while. This is one of those times.

    Do nothing, for or against, and stay under the radar of extremists on both sides of the issue.

  2. Ross says:

    Strauss is what politicinas ought to be – he considers oth sides while trying to get to a solution that may not be perfect, but that all sides can live with. As opposed to Ted Cruz, Dan Patrick, et al, whose mantra seems to be a screeched “my way or no way, my way or no way. Waaaaaahhhhhhh”

  3. Flypusher says:

    Strauss is one of the few GOPers I would actually vote for, were I in his district. Give me a pragmatist over an extremist hothead any day.

  4. Paul A Kubosh says:

    I would do nothing if I was in the legislature. Neither support or oppose. Leave to the local politicians like it was done here in Houston.

  5. Mainstream says:

    For Bill Daniels, Strauss has regularly been primaried, and thus far has repeatedly won.

  6. Flypusher says:

    McCrory just officially paid the political price in NC. That should give any rational politician pause, and the smart option at the state level is to stay out of it, but this is Patrick we’re talking about here after all.