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Summary: Under current law, the Comptroller and all state agencies are required to purchase goods that are produced or grown by Texas or U.S. suppliers when cost and quality are equivalent with state or foreign competitors. HB 535 expands this provision to include bidders of manufactured goods as well as specifying that the state will promote Texas bidders. It also provides terminology clarification by removing the term "commission" and replacing it with Comptroller. The Government Code Section 2155.0011(b) references these two terms as equivalent.
Analysis: HB 535 requires the Comptroller's office or state agencies to choose products produced or grown in Texas or the United States when the cost and quality of those products is equal to that of out of state or overseas competitors. The legislation provides that the Comptroller's office or state agencies may purchase from out of state or international companies if they can obtain higher quality products at a lower cost.
If HB 535 did not specify that Texas and U.S. bidders receive preferential treatment only when the cost and quality are equivalent to out-of-state and foreign manufacturers, this legislation would inhibit market transactions and reduce competition. However, that is not the case. This legislation does not fit within the categories of our liberty principles, nor does it offend them; therefore, we do not object to the HB 535.