House Speaker Joe Straus Talks Priorities for Special Session

The Texas House is moving forward with business in the special session, and House Speaker Joe Straus talked Monday with NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine about what he hopes to accomplish.

The San Antonio Republican hadn't planned on being back at work so soon.

"I feel fine, you know, I feel good. I would rather not be in special session this summer," Straus said.

It is not the special session he wanted, and Straus has become the Republican voice against a so-called "bathroom bill" that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and some others have touted. The legislation, Senate Bill 4, is likely to pass the Texas Senate, and Fine asked whether it will make it the House floor.

"Well, I hope it does not. My views on the so-called 'bathroom bill' are pretty well known, and I can't see why we would want to walk right into the problems that North Carolina experienced," Straus said.

Patrick maintains this bill is what Texans want, but Straus disagrees, saying he has heard from business leaders, law enforcement and educators who are concerned about this bill.

"I just believe it is not in the best interest of Texas to pass that bill," Straus added.

The House just passed the routine sunset bill, so now lawmakers will address other issues. Straus says education is a priority.

"I think the number one priority of the House is what it normally is, and that is to address issues of public education, and funding public education, and the related issue of very high property taxes that people are paying for. They think they are paying for their schools," Straus said.

Fine asked Straus if he would meet with the lieutenant governor.

"Well, I am always willing to talk to anybody who wants to have a constructive conversation about the issues and challenges that really do face the state of Texas," Straus said.

Straus, who has been speaker since 2009, says he plans to run for his seat again.

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