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Race for House Speaker Narrows Ahead of 2019 Legislative Session

- GMs, NDs: Mark Calendars for TAB Conference Jan. 22

A leading contender for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives dropped out last week-end as Republican members of the lower chamber continue the process of selecting a successor to current Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio who declined to run for re-election. The winnowing is a stark reminder to Texas broadcasters to plan for TAB’s biennial legislative conference in Austin on Jan. 22 which prepares station managers and news directors for one-on-one advocacy with state lawmakers during the five-month session.

Rep. John Zerwas of Richmond, who as chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee was considered a strong candidate for House Speaker, announced this week-end that he is withdrawing his name from consideration. The news followed rumors swirling in Austin that another powerful member, Rep. Dennis Bonnen of Angleton and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has as many as 45 votes of the 76 needed for a majority. 

The week-end deliberations reportedly did not include the dozen or so members of the extreme right Freedom Caucus which aligns closely with the social agenda espoused by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott.

A final vote won’t take place until after the Legislature convenes Jan. 8, with deliberations intensifying after the Nov. 6 General Election.

TAB Legislative Conference
TAB’s continuing effort to restore the state’s Open Government laws to ensure all Texans know how their tax dollars are being spent will take center stage of our legislative agenda, but we must also prepare to safeguard TAB’s hard-fought successes on a wide range of tax policy and newsroom protections.

The one-day Legislative Conference Jan. 22 includes a morning of detailed briefings on key issues for broadcasters, followed by a program-free luncheon where you are seated with local lawmakers to foster discussions of community concerns and legislative initiatives. The afternoon is open for further meetings at the Texas Capitol.

The event is slated for early in the session before lawmakers’ schedules are overcome with committee hearings, floor votes and what are always tense budget negotiations.

Station groups sponsoring the event to date include:

  • Cox Media Group
  • Entercom
  • NBC-U/Telemundo
  • Nexstar Broadcasting Group
  • Univision
  • Tribune Media
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group


Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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