Lawmakers announce deal on spaceport legislation

Posted at: 01/22/2013 5:43 PM
Updated at: 01/22/2013 5:49 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4; Barry Massey, The Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers say a compromise has been reached on legislation to limit the ability of passengers on space tourism flights to sue spacecraft parts suppliers.

Top House and Senate leaders on Tuesday said the agreement was negotiated by trial lawyer representatives and officials of Virgin Galactic, which plans to fly tourists into outer space from a state-financed spaceport in southern New Mexico.

Current state law exempts Virgin Galactic from being sued for damages by passengers if there was an accident.

Legislation that would have exempted suppliers and manufacturers of spacecraft components from most damage lawsuits has stalled in the Legislature for several years despite warnings from government and business officials that New Mexico may be unable to develop a commercial space travel industry without a change in New Mexico's law.