Is Republican House Speaker Joe Straus the most powerful politician in Texas? He didn’t call the special session that just ended, but he decided what lived and what died. State Representatives Jason Villalba, Republican from Dallas, and Democrat Chris Turner, from Grand Prairie, joined host Jason Whitely and Bud Kennedy of the Star-Telegram to discuss Speaker Straus’ influence and his future as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.


Texas House Speaker Joe Straus could be called the “The Decider,” considering the manner in which he presided over the special session. He adjourned the House a day early, effectively ending the special session on Tuesday rather than Wednesday. He killed the bathroom bill by never bringing it up for a vote. Patrick Svitek, one of the top political reporters at the Texas Tribune, is in for Ross Ramsey. Svitek looks at Straus’ powerful political influence, and whether House Republicans have any interest in replacing him. Svitek also discussed what kind of future relationship is expected between business and the state’s two top leaders, Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.


Charlottesville is a defining moment in American politics. Will it be a turning point, as well? Attorney and activist Amanda Ghagar addressed that question in her My Voice, My Opinion.


Talk of removing confederate statues in Dallas surfaced again this week. Mayor Mike Rawlings wants to create a commission to study removing confederate monuments. Councilman Philip Kingston wants them taken down immediately. However, the African-Americans on the Dallas City Council were not participants in the recent discussion. Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway discussed the reason behind the absence of the African-American council members. He also gave a timeline as to when the confederate statues would be removed.


Dallas Independent School District (DISD) will discuss whether confederate names should come off several schools in the district. The school district has several campuses named after confederate generals. Next month, DISD will discuss changing names of Robert E. Lee Elementary and Stonewall Jackson Elementary. Board President Dan Micciche joined host Jason Whitely to discuss how much support to change the schools’ names actually exist among trustees.


The debate over what the president said and did not say about white supremacists in Charlottesville sparked this week’s Flashpoint. From the right, Mark Davis of 660 AM The Answer. And from the left, author and producer Katie Sherrod.


Reporters roundtable puts the headlines in perspective each week. Bud and Patrick returned to discuss whether events surrounding Charlottesville changed any minds in Texas when it comes to Confederate monuments, and Fort Worth’s vote against joining the lawsuit against sanctuary cities.