On the first day of the new legislative session members in the Texas House of Representatives have overwhelmingly re-elected Rep. Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republican, to his fourth term as Speaker of the House.
While some Tea Party Republicans are asking for new leadership in the Texas House, others’ are siding with the incumbent Speaker, San Antonio Republican, Joe Staus. And while choosing a new House leader won’t happen for another two months, there are already major efforts underway to claim the spot and that’s left a House divided.
On Friday Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced the creation of the Select Committee of Economic Development Incentives, which will examine if the state’s business incentives are really driving companies to move to Texas and if the programs are still worth their weight.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst have signed off on a plan pledging $1.3 million per week for the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide border security. But some are criticizing the state for not using the money strictly for humanitarian efforts.
The recent surge of immigrants coming into Texas, among them tens of thousands of unaccompanied children, has the U.S. Border Patrol in a crisis mode.
Freshman state Rep. Scott Turner, a tea party-backed Republican from North Texas who used to play in the NFL, announced that he had filed with the state to be considered for speaker of house in 2015, but one political expert isn’t surprised by the challenge.
Professor Jim Henson with the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project said this type of tea party challenge against current Speaker of the House Joe Strauss, R-San Antonio, has happened so often that it has become expected.
The final transportation bill will provide the Texas Department of Transportation with $1.2 billion per year in road funding from the Rainy Day Fund.
The speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor will appoint a ten-person committee each legislative session -- five members each of the House and Senate -- which will determine a sufficient balance in the Rainy Day Fund before money can be transferred into the State Highway Fund.
The Rainy Day Fund minimum will then have to be approved by the full House and Senate on a simple majority vote.
A transportation panel of seven state representatives heard from the head of the Texas Department of Transportation about the transportation bill that passed the Senate and how it will benefit the State Highway Fund beyond the next two years.
"If we don’t increase our resources now, our production in dollar terms will fall to levels not seen since the early 2000s," said TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson. "Meanwhile, more and more people move to Texas [and] congestion worsens."
After the last of his challengers dropped out Tuesday, San Antonio Republican Joe Straus was elected to a third term as speaker of the Texas House. That last challenger, Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, never found enough support to threaten the incumbent. An earlier challenger, Rep.