Senate Panel Kills Bill to Prevent Spaceport Lawsuits

From - Senate panel today killed a bill to prevent New Mexico space travelers from suing in most cases of negligence. The proposal failed in the Judiciary Committee on a 6-5 vote. Democrats said the bill went too far in eroding the rights of consumers. The measure would have prevented passengers or their families from suing manufacturers of parts and equipment used in space flights. Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, sponsored the bill on behalf of Spaceport America and businesses interested in New Mexico's space industry. Papen said the vote was a disappointment and a setback for the $209 million Spaceport in Sierra County. "I think it will have a slowdown" because of a lack of legal protection for suppliers, Papen said.   Sen. Lisa Curtis, D-Albuquerque, voted against special protections for the space industry. Curtis, a trial attorney, said the bill was flawed. A company's negligence could kill a six passengers on a space flight, but the business would have no liability under the bill, she said. Curtis said New Mexico's stand for consumer protection actually would attract more passengers. Other states - including Texas, Virginia and Florida - have approved laws to protect companies from lawsuits in cases of space travel.  More News New Mexico


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