Events

A Symposium Previewing the 85th Legislature

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2016
  • 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    Conversation begins at 8:30 a.m.
  • The University of Texas - Texas Union Ballroom
    2308 Whitis Ave., Austin, TX 78705
  • Questions? Please email or call us at 512-716-8691.

The Texas Tribune is pleased to present a daylong symposium previewing the 85th Legislative Session. Topics of discussion will include the state budget, education and other major issues on tap in the House and Senate, as well as a look at how the outcome of the 2016 elections could impact the political environment looking ahead to 2018. Also on the agenda: a conversation with House Speaker Joe Straus and a candid lunchtime conversation with veteran members of the Capitol press corps.

One on One with Speaker Joe Straus

Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House; moderated by Evan Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of The Texas Tribune

The Biggest Issues of the Session

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place; State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, Vice Chairman of the Senate Higher Education CommitteeState Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee; State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee; and moderated by Ross Ramsey, Executive Editor of The Texas Tribune

Spending, Taxes and the Economy

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee; State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin; State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, Vice Chairwoman of the House Higher Education Committee; State Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, Chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee; and moderated by Ross Ramsey, Executive Editor of The Texas Tribune

The Politics of 2016, 2017 and 2018

State Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Military Installations Committee; State Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, Chairman of the House Calendars Committee; State Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus; and moderated by Jim Henson, Director of the Texas Politics Project

How the Press Sees the 85th

Gromer Jeffers, Political Reporter for The Dallas Morning News, Jonathan Tilove, Chief Political Writer for the Austin American-Statesman; Ross Ramsey, Executive Editor of The Texas Tribune; Erica Grieder, Former Senior Editor at Texas Monthly; and moderated by Jim Henson, Director of the Texas Political Project

This event will take place in the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom located on the 3rd floor of the Texas Union Building on The University of Texas at Austin campus. It is free and open to the public, and includes a light breakfast and lunch. Paid parking is available in nearby campus garages, including the San Antonio Garage, the 27th Street Garage and the Speedway Garage (map to garage & parking rates - parking is not included with registration).


The Tribune's symposia are modeled on the celebrated Texas Tribune Festival. These one-day, one-topic events bring together experts to present and generate productive conversations on major issues of the day.

This event is supported by Accenture, Raise Your Hand Texas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Comcast, the Texas Association of School Business Officials, Texas Central, AT&T, the Driskill Hotel, NRG Energy, the American Heart Association, Educate Texas, UnitedHealthcare, St. David's HealthCare, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, CenterPoint Energy, the Texas Politics Project and Southwest Airlines, the official airline of Texas Tribune Events. This event is hosted by The University of Texas at Austin and media support is provided by the Austin American-Statesman and KUT. Tribune events are also supported through contributions from our founding investors and members.

Disclosure: Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite our events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning.