Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Democrats Deliver on Jobs for NM - Agreement Should Clear Spaceport America for Takeoff
Democrats showing this NM Legislature 60 day session will not be business as usual. The leaders of both Houses are immediately addressing matters to get jobs going in this State. No waiting for 60 days to act on matters that are needed today. Let's hope Gov. Martinez steps right up too, and signs the coming legislation.
Democrats were swept into office in November on a promise to focus on creating good jobs for New Mexico, and it's a promise we are working hard to keep.
Today Democrats in the legislature announced an agreement to keep the Spaceport on track to become a major economic boon for New Mexico!
Video and Statements below are from the NM Senate Dems
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D) Valencia & Bernalillo, District 29, and House Speaker Ken Martinez (D) Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, Socorro, San Juan, Valencia District 69, announced today that Virgin Galactic and New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association have reached an agreement regarding proposed legislation for Spaceport America. At the urging of Majority Leader Sanchez and Speaker Martinez, the two sides resolved their differences regarding liability issues.
Without the legislation, proponents argued that Virgin Galactic and potential occupants of the Spaceport would favor other states with limited-liability laws. The New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association expressed concern that limiting liability would protect manufacturers who produced substandard parts without fear of consequences. The Trial Lawyers advocate for consumers and public safety.
More than $200 million has already been invested in the facility located near Truth or Consequences.
“Too much has been invested by both the state and Virgin Galactic to abandon this project,” said Majority Leader Sanchez. “The potential economic benefits for New Mexico demanded that serious negotiations be conducted to get beyond the impasse. It is in New Mexico’s best interests that the Spaceport project moves forward quickly, with as much consumer protection as possible.”
At the request of the two legislative leaders, representatives from Virgin Galactic and NM Trial Lawyers Association have reached an agreement.
“This agreement is the result of many months of hard work,” said Speaker Martinez. “We encouraged both parties to sit face-to-face and work through their differences. Since they each had valid points, compromise was the only solution.
“They should be proud of the work they have accomplished for New Mexico.”
The proposed legislation will mirror the laws of Colorado and Florida that limit the liability of operators, manufacturers, and suppliers. An important addition is a requirement that each entity maintain liability insurance in order to qualify under the Act.
The proposed legislation, based on the agreement, is currently being drafted. It is expected that the bill will be introduced within the next several days.
“I am very happy that we can move this issue forward and begin a clear path to getting the Spaceport up and running,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen, (D) Dona Ana, District 38, who sponsored a bill last year to limit liability. “Many people in southern New Mexico, as well as the rest of the state, are excited to see this get going.”