Retiring San Antonio State Representative Joe Straus today was named the Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Straus, who has been the Speaker of the House for the last three sessions, announced in November he will not seek re-election to the Legislature.
The Dallas Morning News. which generally leans conservative, said Straus 'protected the state during the Legislative session from some of the worst political impulses of the far right of the Republican Party.'
Straus was cited for using his political punch to twice kill the so-called 'Bathroom Bill,' which would have restricted transgender bathroom use.
The Morning News says Straus' actions 'allowed the state to dodge the taint of state-sanctioned discrimination.'
The bathroom bill was also blasted by business, tech, and tourism leaders as a job killer that could cost Texas billions of dollars in lost jobs, and convention and visitor income.
The Bathroom Bill twice passed the State Senate, which is dominated by movement conservatives, but Straus managed to route it to a committee where a close ally was able to deny it a hearing.
Conservatives claimed the bill was needed to prevent sexual predators from taking advantage of local 'anti discrimination' laws to enter women's restrooms and sexually assault women and girls.
Police agencies pointed out that sexual assault is already against the law, whether it is committed in a bathroom or anywhere else, and there is no instance of a predator taking advantage of anti discrimination laws which have been on the books for years, to sneak into a woman's restroom to commit illegal acts. They point out that in most cases, there is nothing currently standing in the way of men entering women's restrooms, yet sexual crimes in women's restrooms, while they exist, are very rare.