Jay Root, Texas Tribune

Reporter with The Texas Tribune

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when he walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't the resist the draw: it was the the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and realized it wasn't for him. Soon he was applying for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. He has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.

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Governor's Race
1:42 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Anti-Corruption Unit Chief: No Davis Docs Passed to FBI

Texas gubernatorial candidate, Sen. Wendy Davis speaks to press following an education rally in Austin, Texas on April 14th
Marjorie Kamys Cotera via Texas Tribune

The agency charged with prosecuting state public corruption cases wrapped up an investigation into state Sen. Wendy Davis last year without finding any issues worth pursuing, its director said, and did not uncover anything it believed it should refer to the FBI.

The Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorneys Office closed an investigation into a complaint made against Davis’ law firm last year. The Dallas Morning News reported Friday that documents related to Davis’ legal work as a lawyer for the North Texas Tollway Authority are part of an FBI inquiry into the agency's board members, citing a letter from the Public Integrity Unit about its own closed investigation into Davis.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Davis Takes Friendly Fire on Gun Issue

State Sen. Wendy Davis announces her campaign for governor in front of a crowd of supporters in Haltom City on Oct. 3, 2013.
Laura Buckman Texas Tribune

State Sen. Wendy Davis has taken plenty of shots from conservatives for proposing new gun restrictions, but on Thursday she faced blowback from liberals and fellow Democrats over gun rights. 

Sparking the fallout: Davis’ embrace of so-called open-carry laws, which would allow Texans to pack pistols on their hips. Under current law, people licensed to carry handguns must keep them concealed.

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Politics
9:04 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Davis, Abbott Announce Big Fundraising Figures

Marjorie Kamys Cotera & Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

Democrat Wendy Davis pulled $8.7 million into her gubernatorial campaign coffers in the last half of 2013, and another group committed to her election as governor raised $3.5 million over the same period, the Davis campaign announced Tuesday. Minutes after she announced the combined $12.2 million haul, her expected Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbo

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Politics
12:30 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

As Year Begins, Texas Governor's Race Will Heat Up

Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks at a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting at Concordia Lutheran Church in Bedford on Nov. 12. State Sen. Wendy Davis, who is also running for governor, speaks to veterans at Luby's in Forest Hill the day before.
Mark Graham / Cooper Neil via the Texas Tribune

State Sen. Wendy Davis, who got off to a slow and often rocky start in her race for Texas governor, will ring in the New Year with a much bigger bank account and an aggressive new strategy designed to keep front-running candidate Greg Abbott on the defensive. 

For Abbott, a three-term attorney general, it’s steady as she goes: He’ll keep unveiling carefully crafted policy initiatives and tying Davis to President Obama while remaining hyper-cautious in his own dealings with the news media — lest he become the first Republican in nearly a quarter-century to blow a governor’s race.

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Governor's Race
10:11 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Wendy Davis Sees Legal Income Rise

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, greeting supporters at a phone bank in Austin.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Democrat Wendy Davis only makes $7,200 a year in salary as a state senator, but her take-home pay more than doubled between 2010 and 2012 thanks to steadily rising income from her private law practice, tax records show. 

Davis, who is running for Texas governor, provided her last three tax returns to The Texas Tribune late Tuesday. Her expected Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbottpreviously provided his last three returns.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Davis lists two attorney jobs on her résumé: She's a partner in her own firm, Newby Davis, and a lawyer “of counsel” to the much larger Cantey Hanger firm. Both are located in Fort Worth. 

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Politics
5:44 am
Wed September 18, 2013

An Announcement From Wendy Davis, Sort Of

Davis says she'll announce her decision on running for Texas governor on Oct. 3
davis.senate.state.tx.us

Let the countdown begin: Sen. Wendy Davis has announced her announcement date.

The Fort Worth Democrat, eyeing a run for governor, said in an email release that she would break some news about her political future on Thursday, Oct. 3.

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Wendy Davis
9:03 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Wendy Davis Postpones Announcement on Political Future

Sen. Wendy Davis, beginning her famous filibuster this summer. The rising political star has postponed a decision on whether to run for governor.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democrats' best hope to run for Texas governor, said Wednesday she is postponing the announcement of her decision so she can help care for her sick father. 

“I had hoped to make public my decision about that next week, but with everything that’s going on with my dad, I won’t be doing that,” Davis said. “It’s likely it will be late September before I do.”

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Politics
12:28 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Cruz Staging Number of Events Across Texas

Ted Cruz speaking at a campaign event last year. A swing through Texas brings him to Austin next week.
KUT News

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, whose trips to early primary states have sparked speculation about a possible 2016 presidential run, is hitting the road in Texas next week to bash “Obamacare,” stage town hall meetings and press the flesh with the people who sent him to Washington, D.C.

Cruz’s central focus during the August recess remains his drive to defund the Affordable Care Act. But during the two-week swing, he’ll also squeeze in a few fundraisers, take a tour of the Keystone Pipeline near Houston, visit the U.S.-Mexico border, meet with business leaders, go to a military base and attend a ribbon-cutting for a veterans facility in Austin. 

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Politics
9:19 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Wendy Davis Raises Nearly $1 Million

State Sen. Wendy Davis at a Capitol rally in favor of abortion rights. Davis is currently weighing a gubernatorial run.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the new star of the Texas Democratic Party, raised nearly $1 million in the final two weeks of June, much of it from small donors who sent her money after she launched her famous filibuster of a restrictive abortion bill, her campaign will reveal Monday. 

According to figures that her campaign expects to report to the Texas Ethics Commission, the Fort Worth Democrat raised $933,000 between June 17 and June 30. Counting money left over from 2012, she ended the reporting period with more than $1 million in the bank.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
2:33 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Abortion-Related Legislation Added to Special Session

In his Jan. 29, 2103, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry is again expanding the agenda of the ongoing special session, and this time he has added a issue that is sure to spark partisan warfare.

Perry on Tuesday added “legislation relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers and facilities.” Perry also added the issue of life sentences for 17-year olds who commit serious crimes, a big issue for prosecutors but less likely to trigger divisive debate.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
2:25 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Perry Open To Expanding Special Session Agenda

Texas Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed House Bill 4, which lays the foundation for Texas' future water needs. He is joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland and Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay on May 2.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry is leaving the door open for more items on the agenda of the newly called special legislative session, but he said Friday he wants lawmakers to bring him specific proposals that have a chance of passage before putting more on their plate.

“We’re not going to be adding things to the call just for the sake of adding things to the call,” Perry said. “We want to be relatively assured that we’re going to be successful.”

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Politics
11:11 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Susan Combs Won't Seek Re-election

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs on Feb. 7, 2013.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Comptroller Susan Combs announced Wednesday that she will not seek re-election and that she is retiring from public office at the end of her term in 2015. Combs, who had been positioning herself to run for lieutenant governor, will not run for that post or other elective office. 

"It is with a deep sense of gratitude for the past, coupled with excitement for the future, that I announce today I will not be seeking elective office in 2014," Combs said in a statement, adding that she would keep working on several policy priorities, but that she wanted to spend more time on her West Texas ranch. "I want to make my intentions clear as soon as possible for prospective statewide candidates."

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Politics
6:40 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Big Tobacco Beats Small Tobacco on Tax Vote

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Small cigarette manufacturers would face new state fees on their sales under a measure that passed the Texas House in a preliminary vote on Monday — a big win for Big Tobacco. 

The bill passed 85-53. 

The nation’s four largest tobacco companies currently pay more than half a billion dollars to the state every year as part of a 1998 lawsuit settlement. They have for years lobbied for small cigarette manufacturers, which were not included in the $17 billion settlement, to face a similar financial penalty.

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Environment
10:18 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Oil Lobbyists Oversee Protection of Threatened Lizard

Steve Jurvetson via Texas Tribune

When Texas promised to protect a threatened lizard in the oil-rich Permian Basin, state officials entrusted the day-to-day oversight to a nonprofit that sounds like an environmental group: the Texas Habitat Conservation Foundation.

What’s not advertised is the occupation of the board members who created it.

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