Speaker Straus at the Texas Tribune Festival

House Speaker Joe Straus holds a press briefing at the Omni Hotel, Fort Worth on June 8, 2012.
House Speaker Joe Straus holds a press briefing at the Omni Hotel, Fort Worth on June 8, 2012.

We're liveblogging this weekend from The Texas Tribune Festival, and from this special morning session with Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.

Follow us here for updates from the University of Texas at Austin campus. 

 

Liveblog

by Jay Root
We are minutes away from starting the liveblogging of Joe Straus.
by Jay Root

Straus has entered the room

by Jay Root

Evan calls this "politics church." Yes, it's a little early on a Sunday morning to be chomping down on weighty legislative issues.

by Jay Root

Question on committee chairmanships. Straus says House doesn't name chairs until session.

by Jay Root

Straus says naming chairs "takes some time." Says there are a variety of chairmanships that are open. "You never know what will happen in the rules process."

by Jay Root

Asked about a single education committee (higher ed and public ed) Straus says if there is a better way to structure committees he is open to it.

by Jay Root

Straus says "of course, yes" there will be Democratic committee chairs. Says he doesn't want to make TX Capitol like Washington. "I do not want that to happen here in our Capitol ... I want more Republicans than Democrats ..."

by Jay Root

Straus: "I think the Congress should be more like the Texas Legislature."

by Jay Root

About budget and revenue: "I'm cautious about forecasting too far into the future ... other than to remain optimistic ... looks like we''ll have more money in this current budget."

by Jay Root

Straus: "I worry about the underlying strength of the economy." He says he worries TX becoming too dependent on oil and gas.

by Jay Root

About budget compact, Straus says "I don't favor new taxes, no." But he won't pledge or promise in advance: "I don't sign compacts or these various pledges that go around." Says he shares views of Jeb Bush on this topic.

by Jay Root

Straus: "I'm for growing the private sector." He says the rainy day fund should be "treated very very carefully."

by Jay Root

Asked about previous quote regarding not cutting way to prosperity, Straus says it was "poor choice of words" and indicates he was referring to further education cuts.

by Jay Root

About infrastructure challenges, Straus says TX can't throw up hands and say problem is too big. Warns TX  "dangerously close" to not preparing for growing population.

by Jay Root

Straus notes there are 5 million children in TX public schools. "It isn't all about the money" ... "It's high time" to look at way public finance is handled. "It's time to have that discussion."

by Jay Root

Voucher plan: Straus says "too early to say." Says there needs to be a "thorough vetting" of issues before "backstapping" on House floor happens.

by Jay Root

Higher education spending is not a "subsidy." It's an obligation. Says we are "dangerously close" to harming our reputation. "If want to continue to bring the very smartest people to Texas," we need to be "more positive."

by Jay Root

Straus: "Reputation matters." Despite Texas bravado tradition, "to say we don't care what other people think ... is at least inaccurate."

by Jay Root

Regarding in-state tuition for certain illegal immigrants, Straus says he wants more information about how the program has worked. Said he suspects it might be supported again in Legislature for same reason it was passed in 2001.

by Jay Root

At fed level, says he is in favor of giving tax breaks and possibly subsidies to individuals, but not tie to employment for health insurance.

by Jay Root

Straus says system of tying health insurance to employment is "fundamentally flawed.''

by Jay Root

Straus stressing over and over that Texas is very close to slipping behind other states in preparing for future

by Jay Root

Straus stressing over and over that Texas is very close to slipping behind other states in preparing for future

by Jay Root

Evan asks Straus: What is Trey Martinez Fischer's problem with you? Straus says main problem is Republicans in majority.

by Jay Root

Straus says he and TMF are friends. About redistricting: "It will work itself out."

by Jay Root

Straus regarding Satan: "He isn't going to be a committee chairman."

by Jay Root

Straus about separation of church and state: "With all due respect to the governor ... I would recommend eveyboyd just taking a time out." Said founding fathers endeavored to "protect religion from overzealous politicians."

by Jay Root

Straus "not for the expansion of Medicaid at this time." Said it would put Texas on an "unsustainable path." Said it's "smart of the governor to be cautious." Hopes there will be GOP administration to compromise with. And if Obama in WH? Says always willing to talk to administration.

by Jay Root

Straus: "We have to make progress" on providing water for growing state or will face wrath of voters.

by Jay Root

Toll roads? Straus says it's "the only alternative some communities have had." Said he's not viscerally against, but says tolls should not be only option.

by Jay Root

About four-year tuition freeze idea: "It sounds like an intriguing idea" but wants to know more about it.

by Jay Root

Straus supports "quality pre-K."

by Jay Root

And that ends our liveblog of Speaker Straus

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