Texas House Speaker Joe Straus used a brief speech in Houston Tuesday to thank business leaders for fighting the bathroom bill and worked in praise for a Republican ally whom Gov. Greg Abbott has targeted for defeat.

Before introducing Harris County Judge Ed Emmett at a speech at the NRG Center, Straus started by lauding the Greater Houston Partnership with a clear reference to the battle over bathroom bill legislation that engulfed the Legislature's agenda earlier this year.

"When the business community in Texas needed to be heard this year, the Greater Houston Partnership took the lead and spoke up and Texas is a better place because of it," said Straus, a San Antonio Republican who announced he will not run again for speaker of the House after his current term ends.

While the Legislature was debating the bathroom bill during a special session in the summer, the Greater Houston Partnership released a letter calling on Abbott and legislative leaders to avoid doing anything to harm the state's economic growth, including passing the bathroom bill.

The proposed bathroom bill legislation, which passed the Senate but died in the House, would have required people to use the bathroom in schools and government buildings of the gender that is listed on their birth certificate. Opponents of the bill said it would have discriminated against people who are transgender.

Straus also used his few minutes on stage to work in praise for State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston. Earlier this month Abbott endorsed Davis' GOP primary opponent Susanna Dokupil. Straus told the crowd on Tuesday that Davis is "another outstanding public servant from Harris County."

Jeremy Wallace writes about state politics and government for the Chronicle. Follow him on Twitter at @JeremySWallace