Jay Root Reporter

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when Root walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't resist the draw: it was the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and soon realized it wasn't for him. Root applied for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. Root has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.Root is the author of “Oops! A Diary From The 2012 Campaign Trail,” an insider’s account of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dramatic collapse in the 2012 presidential race. The book was released in September, 2012.

Recent Contributions

Signs of Neglect, Wear and Tear in State Government

This 25-year-old doublewide was supposed to be a temporary building for the Texas School for the Deaf's human resources department. It was found to have a severe rodent infestation.
This 25-year-old doublewide was supposed to be a temporary building for the Texas School for the Deaf's human resources department. It was found to have a severe rodent infestation.

After years of budget cuts, raids on dedicated funding and deferred maintenance, rats, bats, leaking roofs and audible bathroom sounds are the new normal in state government.

High Court Ruling Protects Insurers From Lawsuits

Glenn Johnson, 55, was injured in a smelting accident near Amarillo in 1997 when a furnace filled with molten metal exploded, crushed him and left major burns across 90 percent of his body. Johnson struggled to get compensation for his on-the-job injuries.
Glenn Johnson, 55, was injured in a smelting accident near Amarillo in 1997 when a furnace filled with molten metal exploded, crushed him and left major burns across 90 percent of his body. Johnson struggled to get compensation for his on-the-job injuries.

In a major victory for insurance companies, the Texas Supreme Court said Friday that injured workers can't sue for damages in workers' compensation claims even when the insurer intentionally misrepresents their policies, or uses the criminal justice system to punish them.

Ag Commissioner Says Consumers Being "Screwed"

Sid Miller at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 20, 2014.
Sid Miller at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 20, 2014.

The Texas Department of Agriculture is supposed to ensure consumers aren't getting ripped off by fuel pumps, retail scanners or other measuring devices. But the agency is so cash-strapped that consumers are getting "screwed" due to a lack of oversight, the agency's new commissioner says.

Perry's Embrace of Tax Subsidies Could Haunt '16 Bid

Rick Perry in 1991 at Uncle Ben's rice offices in Houston to promote his Make It Texas initiative. The program was designed to promote the agricultural processing industry with loan guarantees, but a high failure rate sank the program and triggered a $14.7 million bailout in 2009.
Rick Perry in 1991 at Uncle Ben's rice offices in Houston to promote his Make It Texas initiative. The program was designed to promote the agricultural processing industry with loan guarantees, but a high failure rate sank the program and triggered a $14.7 million bailout in 2009.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been promoting tax subsidies for private businesses since the early 1990s. But the programs have rarely lived up to their promise, and a series of damning audits could hurt his expected 2016 presidential run.

Abbott's Tune Has Changed on Gun Laws

Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

On the campaign trail, Republican Greg Abbott argued for expanded gun rights — with certain limits. But now that he's been elected governor, the nuance he initially proposed appears to be gone.