It is my genuine hope that you find this site an invaluable resource to help you learn about the legislative process and stay informed of the activities and accomplishments of the Texas House. You can access tools that help you track legislation, provide real time access to debates, and help you get to know your elected officials.
Thank you for visiting this site and for taking an active role in your state government. An open government is essential to ensuring public confidence and accountability.Respectfully,
Room CAP 2W.13, Capitol
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0675 Fax
San Antonio, TX 78209
(210) 832-9994 Fax
The Honorable Joe Straus has been Speaker of the Texas House since January 2009, elected to that post by his colleagues at the start of the last three legislative sessions. As Speaker, Joe Straus has set a tone of respectful leadership, empowering the members of the Texas House to do what is right for their constituents and for the people of Texas.
Speaker Straus believes in a limited, efficient government that is accountable to taxpayers. He wants to expand opportunity for all Texans by promoting economic development, improving education, increasing budget transparency, and securing the resources and infrastructure needed for private-sector growth. He regularly encourages his colleagues to work together, across partisan and geographic divides, to provide thoughtful solutions to the most serious challenges facing the state.
In addition to serving as Speaker, he represents Texas House District 121, which includes the Bexar County communities of Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, and northeast San Antonio. Speaker Straus was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in a special election in February 2005.
He has repeatedly led the Texas House to pass balance budgets and promote private-sector growth. Under his leadership in the 2013 session, the House cut taxes, reduced excessive testing in public schools, improved career readiness and took important steps to make the state budget more transparent and accountable to taxpayers.
Also during the 2013 legislative session, Speaker Straus led the effort to address the state’s increasingly severe water shortage. Recognizing the importance of a reliable water supply to economic growth, Speaker Straus built support for a plan to secure a long-term water supply without raising taxes. Later that year, he led the public campaign to dedicate funding for water in the Texas Constitution. In November 2013, Texas voters approved that plan by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, providing a significant step forward for the Texas economy.
Thanks to his leadership on water and other critical issues, Texas Monthly named Speaker Straus one of the state’s “Ten Best Legislators” in 2013. Calling him “one of the more genteel and thoughtful Speakers in recent memory,” the magazine also wrote, “Straus’s greatest assets are his intelligence and his temperament. Time after time, when a crisis arose, he remained unflappable.”
In February 2014, the San Antonio Express-News wrote in an editorial, “Under Straus’s leadership, the House has produced conservative budgets and a broad conservative agenda. Straus has done an admirable job managing the House since 2009, and he provides crucial leadership on important San Antonio issues. His constituents benefit significantly by having the Speaker represent their district.”
As a lifelong Republican, Speaker Straus has served on numerous campaign committees for federal, state, and local candidates, as a precinct chairman, and on the Management Committee of the Bexar County Republican Party. In 1986, he was U.S. Representative Lamar Smith's campaign manager in Smith's first race for Congress. Early in his career, he worked in public service in the administrations of President Ronald Reagan and President George H. W. Bush.
Speaker Straus is a San Antonio native and a fifth-generation Texan. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he has an insurance, investments, and executive benefits practice. He and his wife Julie have two daughters.
last updated on 03/13/2014
The speaker is the presiding officer of the house of representatives. The Texas Constitution requires the house of representatives, each time a new legislature convenes, to choose one of its own members to serve as speaker.
As presiding officer, the speaker maintains order during floor debate, recognizing legislators who wish to speak and ruling on procedural matters. The constitution also requires the speaker to sign all bills and joint resolutions passed by the legislature. As a member of the house of representatives, the speaker may vote on all questions before the house.
The other duties and responsibilities of the speaker are determined by the members of the house in the House Rules of Procedure, which are adopted by a majority vote of the members at the beginning of each regular session of the legislature. The members give the speaker the authority to appoint the membership of each standing committee, subject to rules on seniority, and to designate the chair and vice chair for each committee. Under the rules, the speaker is responsible for referring all proposed legislation to committee, subject to the committee jurisdictions set forth in the rules. The rules also allow the speaker to appoint conference committees, to create select committees, and to direct committees to conduct interim studies when the legislature is not in session.
If you are an undergraduate, graduate, or law student and are interested in applying for an internship with the Office of the Speaker, please submit your resume to:
The Texas House of Representatives is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age or disability in the employment or the provision of services. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you require reasonable accommodations during the application process, please call (512)463-0865.