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

The Ticket: A Presidential Podcast

On the first-ever episode of The Ticket, our presidential podcast, Jay Root and Ben Philpott talk with former Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri, who's now working for Rand Paul, and dissect Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement speech at Liberty University.

Ethics Legislation Headed to Senate Floor

State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.
State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.

A heavily watered-down ethics reform bill will soon be taken up by the full Senate. Lawmakers on Monday rejected an amendment that would have required legislators to publicly disclose their tax returns each year.

 

Senate Ethics Reform Bill Heavily Watered Down

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; Gov. Greg Abbott; and state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; Gov. Greg Abbott; and state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano.

Proposed ethics reform legislation underwent a significant overhaul Thursday in a Senate committee. Gone is the plan to take state pensions from lawbreaking lawmakers. Also out: a proposal to stop legislators from cashing in on a piece of the public debt business. 

Abbott Refuses to Take Sides on Tax Cuts

Gov.Greg Abbott outlines his plan to  reduce the Texas business franchise tax at a press conference at vcfo on April 15, 2015
Gov.Greg Abbott outlines his plan to reduce the Texas business franchise tax at a press conference at vcfo on April 15, 2015

Gov. Greg Abbott refused to pick sides Wednesday in a growing squabble over how best to cut state taxes, and moved away from an earlier promise to “insist” that Texas lawmakers cut property taxes before the session ends on June 1.

 

Lawmakers in No Rush to Disclose Wining and Dining

Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin and Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston, discuss language to amendment for SB #11 relating to campus carry on March 18th, 2015
Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin and Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston, discuss language to amendment for SB #11 relating to campus carry on March 18th, 2015

Two bills aimed at disclosure of lobbyist wining and dining are on the verge of being snuffed out in a Senate committee, according to the sponsor of the measures. That's despite Greg Abbott’s vow to “dedicate this session to ethics reform."

Despite Rocky Start, Agriculture Chief Defends Record

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller gives away cupcakes at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller gives away cupcakes at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.

A collection of unflattering headlines has lawmakers and one of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's predecessors questioning whether the world-champion calf roper was ready to steer a billion-dollar agency. But Miller is brushing off the criticism.

 

Sid Miller Backed, Then Nixed, Ag Agency Remodel

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.

Hand-scraped wood floors. Custom ceiling tile. A shower. Those items may not sound like upgrades a cash-strapped agency would need, and new Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller ultimately didn't think so, either. After initially supporting a big renovation at the agency, Miller decided to nix it, officials say.