TEXAS: Republican House Speaker Joe Strauss To Retire After Battling Hate Groups On Transgender Rights

The Texas Tribune reports:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republican, announced Wednesday he will not run for re-election in 2018, a decision that has the potential to upend the political balance of power of the state.

Straus, who has lately been the most powerful moderate Republican in the Texas Capitol, said he will serve until the end of his term. But that means there will be a new speaker when the Legislature next convenes in 2019. His decision will immediately set in motion a scrum for control of the House, pitting arch-conservative members who have opposed him against the more centrist Republicans who have backed Straus.

Straus has clashed with hardline conservatives in recent years, not least Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Tea Party leaders and their allies have blamed Straus for killing controversial measures backed by the hard right, most notably a bill that would have regulated which bathrooms transgender Texans could use.

Straus has long been a target of the Family Research Council and other anti-LGBT hate groups.