Creighton’s ‘Buy America’ bill with governor after unanimous approval by Texas lawmakers

May 26, 2017 GMT

A bill authored by Conroe state lawmaker Brandon Creighton that’s expected to give a financial boost to Texas ports -- as well as the rest of the Texas economy -- is with the governor after passing both the Senate and the House unanimously.

Senate Bill 28 -- the so-called Texas Port Expansion Act -- has been sent to Gov. Greg Abbott after sailing through both houses of the state Legislature.

With Texas ports already a powerful contributor to the state’s overall economy, the bill is expected to help create more jobs by putting port improvement projects in the fast lane -- a potential financial boon even for landlocked Texas communities.

According to the Texas Ports Association the financial benefit produced by the state’s ports reaches far inland, with agricultural products and livestock grown on Texas farms and ranches being exported to foreign countries through Texas ports, while containerized shipments carrying goods for WalMart and other major retail chains enter the U.S. through Texas Ports.


It’s estimated that nearly 1.4 million jobs are related to cargo moving through maritime terminals located in the state, while nearly $83 billion in personal income is created as a result of the port industry. With Texas ranking first in the nation in exports, the money being made available for port improvement projects is expected to make the state more competitive in international trade, especially as the Panama Canal is expanded.

“This is revolutionary for Texas ports,” Creighton said of the bill. “Texas ports are among the best in the world and now have the capability to become more competitive.”

The bill breezing through the Legislature marks a busy week and month involving legislation backed by the Republican state senator.

Late Thursday the governor signed into law a bill that requires members of Lone Star Groundwater District be elected. A House version of the bill was sponsored by three lawmakers who represent Montgomery County in the Texas House -- Will Metcalf, Mark Keough and Cecil Bell Jr. -- while Creighton had introduced a similar version in the Senate. The bill signed by the governor was the final version of the two bills.

Earlier in the week Creighton’s legislation involving Jones State Forest passed the Senate in a 31-0 vote. With bills still being referred to the House he says he’s “hopeful” the legislation will advance quickly.

Though Creighton says the bill will protect the forest, the measure still faces opposition from the Sierra Club. The environmental organization argues the wording of the bill is “flawed” and says it does not allow for a “transparent” process in getting the public involved.

Also, earlier this month a bill sponsored by Creighton that would require that only steel made in America be used in state construction projects passed the Senate in a 23-7 vote. A similar bill “Buy America” bill has passed the House, so lawmakers from both the Senate and House will meet to try to agree on a final version.

If passed and signed into law that bill would require large state projects - such as buildings, roads and bridges - be built only with steel made by U.S. companies.