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The Brief: Nov. 12, 2014

Scott Turner, the freshman state representative challenging Joe Straus for House speaker, affirmed on Tuesday that he will insist on a floor vote the first day of session, come what may.

Scott Turner at the Texas GOP state convention in Fort Worth, Texas, June 5, 2014

The Big Conversation

Scott Turner, the freshman state representative challenging Joe Straus for House speaker, affirmed on Tuesday that he will insist on a floor vote on Jan. 13, the first day of session, come what may.

Challenges to Straus from the right at the outset of the two previous sessions fizzled, wrote the Tribune's Aman Batheja. Despite that, the Frisco Republican said that he would press on. “I do understand obviously what happened the last two sessions,” Turner said. “But on the 13th we’re going to take it to the vote.”

Conservative groups like Empower Texans have cast Straus and his allies as the main impediment to the enactment of their agenda on issues such as government spending and school choice.

Adding fuel to the fire this week was the decision by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, to tell a Tarrant County Tea Party group that he was not backing Turner for speaker and that Turner had no chance of winning.

"His remarks drew sharp rebukes from Capriglione supporters who backed him for office because they were unhappy with former state Rep. Vicki Truitt's support of Straus," Batheja wrote. "Capriglione lost to Truitt in 2010, but beat her in 2012. Truitt’s support of Straus was a unifying issue for a coalition of conservative groups interested in seeing her replaced."

Batheja wrote that this time around, it might not just be the anti-Straus faction that would like to have that floor vote on the Legislature's first day.

“I think people are fed up with a lot of this stuff, and I think people need to stand up and be counted,” said state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, a Straus ally.

The Day Ahead

•    The Sunset Advisory Commission meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension. Agencies up for discussion include the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Education Agency. (agenda)

•    The Senate Committee on Open Government meets in the Betty King Committee Room in the Texas Capitol at 10:30 a.m. to look at ways to ensure that public records remain accessible while protecting the privacy of students and others from improper disclosure of private information. (agenda)

•    State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and HHSC Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek will announce the launch of a new women's health care website at 9 a.m. in the Texas Senate press conference room. The site is aimed at giving low-income Texas women information on available programs, services and local providers.

Trib Must-Reads

Big Lake, a Historic Boomtown, Roars Back to Life, by Jim Malewitz and Tamir Kalifa

Private Sector an Oasis for Thirsty San Antonio, by Neena Satija

Abbott Says He Will Name Cascos as Secretary of State, by John Reynolds

George W. Bush, Invoking Father, Urges Jeb to Run, by Jay Root


U.S. and China Reach Deal on Climate Change in Secret Talks, The New York Times

Abbott announces his first major nomination, San Antonio Express-News

Abbott visit seen as opportunity for region to have voice in next governor’s vision, The Monitor

Abbott comes out – warily – for business tax break, The Dallas Morning News

Rick Perry judge expected to rule on effort to toss case, Austin American-Statesman

‘You’ll see me again,’ outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry tells South Carolina audience, The Dallas Morning News

Ted Cruz is out on a limb on Obamacare repeal, Politico

Voting glitches hurt Texas, Georgia, The Hill

Taxpayers pay for wheelchair 'ramps to nowhere', KHOU-TV

Quote to Note

“All presidents get reassessed. It’s inevitable.”

— Former President George W. Bush, in an interview with The New York Times' Peter Baker shortly after he formally presented 41: A Portrait of My Father, a biography of former President George H.W. Bush

Today in TribTalk

Texans deserve the truth about property taxes, by Kirk Watson

News From Home

•    The Texas Tribune is the only member-supported, digitally focused, nonpartisan news organization that informs and engages with Texans about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Become a member today to support this critical mission.

•    The Texas Tribune’s 5th Anniversary Member Celebration is set for tonight at the restaurant Frank from 6-8 p.m.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Panel Discussion on Education 2.0, on Nov. 13 at the San Antonio Central Library

•    A Special TribLive Happy Hour Panel Discussion Assessing Rick Perry’s Legacy, on Nov. 18 on the patio at El Arroyo

•    A Conversation With Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Dec. 4 at The Austin Club

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Explore related story topics

Politics Greg Abbott Jane Nelson Joe Straus Rick Perry Ted Cruz