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

Double Dipping Ban Passes House, Sort Of

State Rep. Chris Turner, left, on the House floor during a budget debate on March 31, 2015.
State Rep. Chris Turner, left, on the House floor during a budget debate on March 31, 2015.

The Texas House voted overwhelmingly Monday to end the controversial practice of double dipping by longtime politicians who draw state pensions and paychecks at the same time. But a last-minute change clouded exactly to whom the bill would apply. 

Senate Bill Makes It Harder to Sue Insurers

State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, speaks during the "House vs. Senate" panel at The Texas Tribune's "On the Road: A Symposium Previewing the 84th Legislature" event on Dec. 5, 2014. Taylor is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, speaks during the "House vs. Senate" panel at The Texas Tribune's "On the Road: A Symposium Previewing the 84th Legislature" event on Dec. 5, 2014. Taylor is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

A controversial bill that would make it harder for homeowners and companies to recover certain damages from their insurance companies — cheered by the insurance industry and criticized by liberal groups and some businesses — cleared the Texas Senate on Thursday.

The Ticket: Rand Paul and Matthew Dowd

In this week's episode of The Ticket, a co-production of the Tribune and KUT, Jay and Ben break down the presidential campaign announcement speech of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and talk with Mathew Dowd, who directed George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.

Senate Strengthens and Passes Ethics Bill

State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, at a Tribune event on Dec. 11, 2014.
State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, at a Tribune event on Dec. 11, 2014.

The Senate voted in often odd coalitions to reveal more about the money members make, prohibit themselves from immediately becoming lobbyists, post their financial statements online and even subject themselves and other elected officials to drug testing.

Wining and Dining Disclosure Bills Advance

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

Bills designed to shed more light on wining and dining of politicians by lobbyists and contractors advanced in the Texas Legislature on Monday.

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.