Texas’ business community got a rude awakening. After playing nice with the Texas House coalition leadership of Democrats and liberal Republicans, they expected some meaty policy reforms. Unfortunately for them, they wanted reforms that conflicted directly with the needs of Democrats key to the current governing coalition.
No Straus-led implosion was quite so dramatic as Senate Bill 1968. The measure would have prohibited public employee unions from automatically deducting their dues from public employees’ paychecks. Widely supported by the business community and GOP, the measure was publicly killed by Straus’ right-hand man, State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana).
Because of their coalition with the Democrats, Straus and Cook were forced to show their allegiance to Big Labor over Texas workers and businesses.
A similar fate befell legislation (Senate Bill 1628) curtailing predatory trial lawyers from using shady practices after major storms to trick unsuspecting homeowners into signing on to lawsuits. Despite having nearly 90 supporters in the Texas House, Straus let the measure die and gave mega-Democrat trial lawyer Steve Mostyn a major win.
Ironically, both of these issues put traditional GOP donor interests against Democratic donor interests, and both times the Straus coalition sided with the Democrats.
And that’s what GOP state representatives voted for when they supported the establishment coalition with their first vote of the session for speaker.