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

Audie Murphy, a Hero Still Missing One Medal

Nadene Lokey with a photo of her brother, WWII hero Audie Murphy, at her home in Farmersville, Texas on June 17, 2013.
Nadene Lokey with a photo of her brother, WWII hero Audie Murphy, at her home in Farmersville, Texas on June 17, 2013.

The effort to give World War II hero Audie Murphy a Texas Legislative Medal of Honor fizzled for the second time in two years. Supporters wonder if Murphy and other veterans from the "greatest generation" are being forgotten.

 

Perry Issues More Than Two Dozen Vetoes

The Texas Tribune Festival 2012 Opening Session: A Conversation with Gov. Rick Perry and Evan Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.
The Texas Tribune Festival 2012 Opening Session: A Conversation with Gov. Rick Perry and Evan Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.

Gov. Rick Perry issued more than two dozen vetoes Friday, including a line-item veto that wipes out funding for the Travis County prosecutors who investigate government fraud and public corruption. He also vetoed a bill that would have had Texas law mirror gender wage protections in the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

Perry: No Time to Expand Session Agenda

Gov. Rick Perry signs House Bill 308 which allows public school students and staff to use traditional holiday greetings and display religious symbols on school property. He was joined by bill author Rep. Dwayne Bohac R-Houston, Bahac's  son Reagan, Sen. Robert Nichols as well as several Santa's, Rabbi Zev Johnson and cheerleaders from Kountze High School - June 13, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry signs House Bill 308 which allows public school students and staff to use traditional holiday greetings and display religious symbols on school property. He was joined by bill author Rep. Dwayne Bohac R-Houston, Bahac's son Reagan, Sen. Robert Nichols as well as several Santa's, Rabbi Zev Johnson and cheerleaders from Kountze High School - June 13, 2013.

With the special session set to end in less than two weeks, Gov. Rick Perry said there's no more time to add items to the agenda. 

"Kumbaya Session" Becoming a Distant Memory

The Texas Tribune Festival 2012 Opening Session: A Conversation with Gov. Rick Perry and Evan Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.
The Texas Tribune Festival 2012 Opening Session: A Conversation with Gov. Rick Perry and Evan Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.

After a relatively calm regular session, Gov. Rick Perry is flexing his partisan muscles as the special session presses on. Redistricting, abortion-related issues and a threat to cut off state funding for the Public Integrity Unit are ratcheting up tensions. 

Abortion-Related Legislation Added to Special Session

In his Jan. 29, 2103, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.
In his Jan. 29, 2103, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.

The special session's agenda now includes the hot-button issue of abortion — which is sure to spark partisan warfare. Gov. Rick Perry also ordered the Legislature to take up a measure dealing with sentences for 17-year-olds convicted of capital felonies.

Official: Funding Cut Would Impair Anti-Fraud Unit

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg speaks to members of the media following a November 2010 trial.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg speaks to members of the media following a November 2010 trial.

Gov. Rick Perry would deal a "huge blow" to prosecutors who handle public fraud and corruption cases if he carries out a threat to end state funding for the state's public integrity unit, the unit's director said.

 

Amid Criticism, Perry Defends State Budget

Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst answer questions from the media after a series of education bill signings on June 10, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst answer questions from the media after a series of education bill signings on June 10, 2013.

Gov. Rick Perry is pushing back against conservative critics who say the state budget is growing too fast. Perry is still analyzing the budget legislation, but his defense of it was the clearest signal yet that he plans to sign the two-year, $197 billion appropriations bill into law.

Tea Party Leader Says He Misspoke About Black Voters

Steve Munisteri campaigning for Texas GOP chairman.
Steve Munisteri campaigning for Texas GOP chairman.

UPDATED: Dallas Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson says he misspoke when he said last month that Republicans don't want to encourage blacks to vote because they overwhelmingly support Democrats. State GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri had said Emanuelson's remarks don't reflect the party's position.

Perry Open to Expanding Special Session Agenda

Texas Governor Rick Perry ceremonially signed House Bill 4, which lays the foundation for Texas' future water needs. He is joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland and Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay on May 28, 2013
Texas Governor Rick Perry ceremonially signed House Bill 4, which lays the foundation for Texas' future water needs. He is joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland and Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay on May 28, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry told reporters Friday that he is leaving open the possibility of adding more items to the agenda of the special legislative session, but he wants to first see specific proposals that have a chance of passing.