Last session, Rep. Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) authored HB 3693, which passed the Texas House 141 to 0 and was signed into law by Governor Perry. This bill got watered down a good deal in the process, but it is notable today for two reasons:
1. The bill did improve electric utility conservation programs, building codes and energy-saving efforts by local governments.
2. Rep. Joe Straus wrote it, and as of today he has more than enough pledged votes to succeed Rep. Tom Craddick as House Speaker.
That’s right. Texas could soon have a House Speaker who not only isn’t opposed to every good environmental bill as a matter of principle, but who actually authored a good bill last session!
January 13th will be a new dawn in the Texas House should Rep. Straus be elected Speaker as expected. Conservation groups hope that Speaker Strauss will appoint pro-conservation leaders to head committees, particularly the House Environmental Regulations Committee (currently chaired by Rep. Bonnen (who earned a paltry 28% score on the League’s legislative scorecard last session).
We don’t expect the new Speaker and House leadership to be rubber-stampers of the environmental agenda. Rather, we expect the new leadership to give good environmental bills a fair shot, to manage the business of the House in an evenhanded way, and to help build bipartisan consensus on the urgent conservation issues facing Texas: improving our air quality, generating the renewable power that will drive our economy forward and developing sound, sustainable transportation practices.
Texas League of Conservation Voters extends our best wishes to Speaker-apparent Straus, and we look forward to working with him and all House members on building a stronger Texas for tomorrow.