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Saturday, March 03, 2012

New Mexico State Senators Complain About Spaceport Liability Protection Votes

In the wake of the New Mexico legislature killing an expanded space flight liability and immunity measure, similar to state laws adopted in Virginia, Florida, Texas and soon in Colorado, legislators are starting to point fingers in The Land of Enchantment and about "The Roundhouse" in Santa Fe.

New Mexico State Sen. Bill Burt, (R-Alamogordo), voted against a bill to shield manufacturing and supply companies from lawsuits by space travelers but now considers the listing of the vote he cast to be accurate but misleading as he faces a Republican primary opponent, reports the Alamogordo Daily News.

Burt faces a primary election this spring against incumbent Sen. Rod Adair , (R-Roswell). Redistricting threw the two Republicans into competition for one seat. Adair said he wanted to approve a law to block negligence lawsuits against companies at Spaceport America. But Adair never voted on the Spaceport bill. What happened with the Spaceport issue may be pivotal in the forthcoming election, reports the New Mexico newspaper.
The Roundhouse State Capitol

Meanwhile, the Current-Argus newspaper is reporting that legislative records show that state Sen. George Munoz, (D-Gallup), voted for a bill to shield companies from lawsuits by space travelers but the legislator told the newspaper he was not there to vote one way or the other due to his presenting a bill in another committee. He said the listing of his having voted on the Spaceport bill was a fabrication.

Sen. Lynda Lovejoy, (D-Crownpoint), attended the Corporations committee hearing on the Spaceport. Senate records list her as voting against the bill to provide special protections to the enterprise's manufacturers and suppliers but she now says she voted for the protections, in the same Current-Argus news report.

The spaceport’s anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic, support the expanded libaility protection measure. “We’re very hopeful that next year we can be successful in the New Mexico Legislature to get some of the provisions that we’re trying to get in New Mexico in place,” said Jon Turnipseed, head of safety for Virgin Galactic, as reported in The NewSpace Journal.

The spaceport liability protection measure is certainly to be a campaign issue in New Mexico in the primary and fall election season almost making it a certainty to reappear in the 2013 New Mexico legislative session. Enchanting it is - the legislative process.

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