Who Will Win Out in 2017 Texas Legislative Power Struggle?

AUSTIN — For a look at the leadership dynamics that will be at play during the 2017 legislative session, consider how the three most powerful men in the Texas Capitol talk about bathrooms.Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has proclaimed loudly, repeatedly and publicly that he wants a law banning biological men from ladies’ rooms, the so-called bathroom bill.House Speaker Joe Straus has been less vociferous. “This isn’t the most urgent concern,” the San Antonio Republican told Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith in an interview last month, deferring to the 150 members of the chamber he leads.Gov. Greg Abbott, the former judge and attorney general, takes a more considered approach. “I want to pull out the law books and look into the laws we have on the books and see what modifications need to be made," he said during a briefing with reporters this month.Often called “The Big Three,” the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker — all Republicans — wield considerable power in determining which bills become law and which ones meet the round file during the 140-day legislative session. What gets done during the session and how much political rancor fills the Capitol hallways depend largely on their ability to work together — or in opposition to one another — despite their different personalities.“I don’t see these personalities locking horns,” said Bill Miller, a longtime Republican consultant in Austin. But that doesn’t mean they’ll agree on all the issues or how to approach them. “I do see them measuring the fullness of their opposition and the effort behind it,” he said.  Continue reading...

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