Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

`Buy American' Bill Approved by State Senate

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

`Buy American' Bill Approved by State Senate

Article excerpt

By Lou Anne Wolfe Journal Record Staff Reporter The "Buy American" bill passed the Oklahoma Senate 41-3 on Wednesday and now goes back to the House of Representatives for consideration of Senate amendments.

House Bill 1827, principally co-authored by Rep. John Monks, D-Muskogee, and Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta, would require state government agencies, county governments and boards of education to buy American-made products, except in cases where a foreign-made product was substantially cheaper and of equal quality.

American-made products would enjoy preferential treatment up to 2.5 percent in competing with foreign products. The state already gives a 5 percent preference to Oklahoma-made products. Shurden said the bill's benefit could not be combined with the 5 percent preference.

Bidders for government contracts would have to be prepared to give the country of origin for all supplies, equipment or major components within the products to be used.

Shurden at the outset told the lawmakers that House Bill 1827 needed to go to a joint House-Senate conference committee for a major overhaul. But that didn't discourage a debating session that continued for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Sen. Trish Weedn, D-Purcell, said the Hitachi Corp. plant in Norman already is eligible for the 5 percent preference, but she wanted to know how far the legislation would go in requiring product parts to be labeled.

"There's millions and millions of components in these big computers, and the state buys these computers," she said. "This bill will hurt the Oklahoma company in Norman that employs so many people." Shurden said: "Well, that's another thing we need to work out. I told you, the bill needs a lot of work." Weedn called for the senators to kill the bill, but later she voted for it.

Sen. Jerry Smith, R-Tulsa, asked how the bill would view Honda automobiles made in Leesville, Ohio, or Dodge Stealth automobiles made by Mitsubishi in Japan. …

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