A Jan. 4, 2013 story in the Los Cruces Bulletin reports that space port legislation will be an important priority in the next session of the New Mexico Legislature. The legislation is described as an “informed consent” bill, preventing lawsuits against suppliers and manufacturers of private space vehicles, such as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. This is considered necessary since space travel, even the commercial kind, is considered inherently dangerous. Current law only covers operators of such vehicles.
A group called Citizens in Space warns that should the new legislation not pass, New Mexico’s Space Port America, built at an expense of $200 million, might become a “ghost town.” Virgin Galactic, which is an anchor tenet of the facility, might decide to pull out and go to a state that has that kind of liability legislation, such as next door Texas, should New Mexico not act.
However the New Mexico trial lawyers are actively campaigning against the informed consent legislation. A group of trial lawyers succeeded in watering down similar legislation in California, which some suggest led to XCOR moving some of its operations to Midland, Texas.