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Audio: New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright: Here’s What Speaker Straus told me on “Bathroom Bill”

During a Tuesday interview on Texas Standard, a statewide news magazine based out of KUT Austin, author Lawrence Wright talked with The Texas Tribune’s Alana Rocha about “America’s Future is Texas,” his latest piece in The New Yorker.

In the article, Wright – a longtime staff writer for the magazine – includes the following quote from House Speaker Joe Straus about the “bathroom bill,” controversial legislation slated for the special legislative session that would regulate which bathrooms transgender Texans can use:

“I’m not a lawyer, but I am a Texan,” Straus said. “I’m disgusted by all this. Tell the lieutenant governor I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.”

In this clip, Wright talks about his exchange with the speaker.

Listen to the full interview with Lawrence Wright on

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Most Texas voters don’t rate proposals to regulate transgender people’s use of public restrooms as an important issue, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. [link]
  • In dueling press conferences in the final days of the regular session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus revealed themselves at an impasse over bathroom regulations that could prompt Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session. [link]
  • A review of Gov. Greg Abbott’s schedule during May provides a glimpse into the final stretch of the legislative session, where the governor tried in vain to bring together lawmakers to avoid a special session. [link]

Author:  ALANA ROCHA – The Texas Tribune

Texas Tribune, UTEP to host free Symposium on Urban Public Education Friday

The Texas Tribune will host a free, open-to-the-public Symposium on Urban Public Education from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Symposium discussion topics will include educating the emerging demographic majority, social and emotional learning in public education and strategies for widening the high school-to-college pipeline.

Each of the four discussions will be followed by an audience Q&A session. A complimentary light breakfast and lunch will be provided. The conversation will be livestreamed at, and the video will be available for viewing afterward. For media RSVP, contact Natalie Choate at General registration is open at

WHAT: Texas Tribune Symposium on Urban Public Education


  • David Anthony, CEO of Raise Your Hand Texas
  • Richard Carranza, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District
  • Juan Cabrera, superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District
  • Paul Cruz, superintendent of the Austin Independent School District
  • Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Terry Grier, superintendent of the Houston Independent School District
  • Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District
  • Susan Simpson Hull, superintendent of the Grand Prairie Independent School District
  • Elena Izquierdo, associate professor of teacher education at The University of Texas at El Paso and program area chair for bilingual/biliteracy
  • Mike Morath, Texas Education Commissioner
  • William Serrata, president of the El Paso Community College District
  • Evan Smith, The Texas Tribune’s CEO and editor-in-chief
  • Airick West, member of the Board of Directors for Kansas City Public Schools

WHERE: Tomás Rivera Conference Center, Union Building East 308, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968. Parking will be available in the Sun Bowl Parking Garage (map).

WHEN: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22. Doors open at 8 a.m. Conversation begins promptly at 8:30 a.m.

CONTACT: The Texas Tribune – Natalie Choate (512-716-8640 or

UTEP to host Texas Tribune’s discussion on future of public education

The Texas Tribune is excited to present a special statewide series of public events looking ahead five years in eight major policy areas: criminal justice, energy, the environment, health, higher education, immigration, public education and transportation. Each event features a conversation with leading thinkers and policymakers on that day’s particular subject.

Join us in person at the University of Texas at El Paso on Friday, November 13th or on our livestream for the seventh installment of this series: a discussion on the future of public education in Texas. (Livestream viewers, please note the event will begin at 12 p.m. MDT/1 p.m. CST.)

The discussion is entitled ‘Public Education: The Next Five Years’

Our panelists are:

  • State. Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, member of the House Public Education Committee
  • Lizzette González Reynolds, chief deputy commissioner for the Texas Education Agency
  • Juan Cabrera, superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, interim executive director of the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development
This event will take place in the Tomás Rivera Conference Center in the Union Building (East 308) at UTEP in El Paso. It is free and open to the public, and includes a light lunch. Visitor parking will be available in the Sun Bowl Parking Garage (map).
  • Friday, November 13, 2015
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Conversation begins at 12 p.m.
  • Union Building East – UTEP Campus
    500 W. University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968
To RSVP click HERE | Questions? Please mail or call us at 512-716-8691.

The Texas Tribune’s statewide Conversation Series features in-depth discussions with prominent elected officials and newsmakers moderated by Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief, and other expert journalists from The Texas Tribune. You can also watch the event on our livestream if you are unable to attend in person.

This event is presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Raise Your Hand Texas, Texas Standard, Educate Texas, College Board and UTEP and supported by The Meadows Foundation, El Paso Community Foundation and the Burdine Johnson Foundation. This series of conversations is sponsored by AT&T, Texas A&M University, BP, PepsiCo, Walmart and Southwest Airlines, the official airline of Texas Tribune Events. Tribune events are also supported through contributions from our founding investors and members.

Disclosure: Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite The Texas Tribune events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning.