While critics have taken issue with what the state Legislature got done this year, House Speaker Joe Straus made clear Monday evening he is nothing but proud of what his chamber accomplished.
Looking back at the 140 days of this year’s legislative session and the 30 days of a special session, Straus told the Northeast Tarrant County Republican Club in Richland Hills, "I was fully satisfied. We kept our promises to the people of this state...So no regrets for me."
With Republicans holding 101 seats in the 150-member House, Straus said Texans witnessed "certainly the most conservative session in any one’s memory."
The comments from Straus served as a preemptive strike of sorts against the inevitable criticism that some Republican House members will face from challengers during next year’s primary season.
When asked about the failure to pass a so-called sanctuary cities measure that would have prohibited local police agencies from telling officers they can’t check the immigration status of a suspect, Straus noted that the bill died in the Senate.
Another attendee brought up efforts to ban invasive patdowns by federal airport security screeners.
Straus said he had asked freshman Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, to work with others to tweak the bill so it could draw enough votes.
At the end of the special session, Simpson tried to pass an earlier version of the bill instead.
"What was presented to me...was essentially a take-it-or-leave-it deal authored by a Senator and I just told the new member, ‘That is not the way I do business’ and if he had lived up to his side of the bargain and accepted the Attorney General’s language, maybe we would have passed a bill,” Straus said.
Simpson has said that the state's GOP leadership sabotaged the bill.
Straus faced far less pushback this time around than an address he made to a Tarrant County Republican grassroots back in late 2010, when he was in the midst of challenges to his reelection as Speaker.
"It's important to me that the House members feel like they're being treated fairly and that everybody has a chance and that means even Democrats," Straus said. "I think some of what I was maybe beaten around for is that I try to be fair."