NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR OKS SPACEFLIGHT LIABILITY PROTECTIONS BILL

     (The following press release from the New Mexico Governor's Office was 
received by e-mail and was reformatted. The sender verified the statement.) 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2013 
Governor Susana Martinez Signs Bill to Keep New Mexico at the Forefront of
Commercial Spaceflight Industry 
SPACEPORT AMERICA – Following unanimous passage by the state’s legislature, New
Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation today expanding existing
liability protections for spaceflight operators to spaceflight manufacturers and
suppliers. The New Mexico Expanded Space Flight Informed Consent Act prevents
lawsuit abuse and addresses the inherent risks of space flight and is written to
ensure New Mexico’s Spaceport America remains at the forefront of a
nationally-competitive and rapidly-growing commercial space industry. 
“We are not only reaffirming the major commitment New Mexicans have made to
Spaceport America but we now have an even stronger opportunity to grow the
number of commercial space jobs at the spaceport and across our state,” said
Governor Susana Martinez. “This legislation will prevent lawsuit abuse and make
it easier for businesses related to the space travel industry to thrive and
succeed right here in New Mexico. After calling for this legislation in 2012 and
again in my State of the State address this year, I’m pleased to be able to sign
this bill into law today.” 
Building on existing legislation passed in 2010, which covered only spaceflight
operators like Virgin Galactic, the new law provides coverage to both operators
and their supply chain during the critical early years of the industry’s
development. The enhancement, which costs taxpayers nothing, still allows legal
options for spaceflight participants in cases of willful, wanton or reckless
disregard, while creating an environment that enables New Mexico to more
successfully recruit and retain commercial space tenants and customers for human
spaceflight operations at Spaceport America. 
“The Spaceport has the potential to be a major economic driver for New Mexico
and it’s absolutely critical that we do everything we can to encourage its
success,” added Senator Mary Kay Papen, who sponsored the legislation in the New
Mexico Senate. 
“This bill will allow the commercial space industry to continue to make a home
in New Mexico and add jobs to our state,” said Representative Jim White, who
carried the measure in the New Mexico House of Representatives. “This has been a
pressing need for some time and it was essential that we addressed this issue
during the legislative session, not just to keep Virgin Galactic here in New
Mexico, but to allow other, smaller businesses related to the space industry to
thrive as well.” 
“The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) is grateful to the Governor for her
strong support of this bill” said NMSA Chairman Rick Holdridge. “We are also
grateful for the collaborative effort between legislators, our bill sponsors,
Sen. Mary Kay Papen and Rep. Jim White, and the legion of dedicated local
supporters.” 
“The passage of this expanded liability protection is extremely important to the
future of New Mexico’s  leadership position in the commercial space industry,
and demonstrates the appreciation  and strong support by our Governor  for the
cutting edge space technology  and the associated jobs that will come to our
state.” said NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson.  “With this protection
enacted, NMSA is now ready and able to get back to the business of building the
commercial space industry here in New Mexico. I would like to also emphasize
that Spaceport America is open for business.” 
Spaceport America has already created over 1,100 construction jobs in New Mexico
and the continuing economic impact is already delivering on its promise to the
people of New Mexico. From its regular launch business with 18 vertical launches
to date and a growing spaceport tourism industry, the spaceport continues to
grow. Spaceport America is now generating consistent revenues for the State of
New Mexico following the commencement of rent on the 20-year lease of the
spaceport’s main terminal hangar facility, signed with Virgin Galactic in 2008.
The NMSA continues to work closely with leading aerospace firms such as Virgin
Galactic, Lockheed Martin, Moog-FTS, and UP Aerospace and their customers NASA
and the Department of Defense to develop commercial spaceflight at the new
facility. 
Contact: Enrique Knell 
(505) 819-1398 
enrique.knell@state.nm.us 
(kgt)NY 
 
 
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