Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio has been re-elected as speaker of the Texas House by a 132-15 vote; two Republicans abstained. He fended off a challenge from conservatives who wanted to replace him with one of their own. Some conservative groups warned the speaker’s vote would serve as a litmus test for lawmakers’ performance at the end of the session.
As speaker, Straus presides over the House, making him one of the most powerful men in state government. He sets the House’s agenda and exerts significant influence by controlling what legislation makes it to the House floor for consideration.