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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, New Mexico House, Roundhouse » PRC qualifications, Spaceport liability protection pass House

PRC qualifications, Spaceport liability protection pass House

The House of Representatives passed a large number of pieces of legislation unanimously and without debate Monday through the morning and early afternoon.

Included were two high profile pieces that had already passed the Senate.

One was Senate Bill 8, a piece of legislation that would outline qualifications for Public Regulation Commissioners. New Mexico voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that required increased qualifications for the PRC commissioners.

The bill was amended in the House Judiciary Committee, which means it must go back to the Senate for concurrence.

The bill would require a PRC commissioner to have ten years professional experience in a field related to the PRC, at least ten years of higher education in a field related to the PRC or any combination of the two. It would also exempt current PRC commissioners from the requirements.


“This legislation combines the best elements of the House and Senate PRC qualification bills,” said Fred Nathan, Executive Director of Think New Mexico, an independent statewide think tank, which pushed for the passage of the constitutional amendment last year.

Post continues as originally written below.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Senate Majority Whip Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque:

A bill that has not gone through as many changes (the PRC bill was substituted in the Senate Rules Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, amended on the Senate floor) is the Spaceport informed consent legislation.

The Spaceport legislation would protect manufacturers of parts for spacecraft at the Spaceport in southern New Mexico from most lawsuits.

Virgin Galactic, the anchor tenet of the Spaceport, has threatened to leave the Spaceport (and its $2 million a year rent) unless the legislation was passed. A deal was reached between the company and the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association shortly after the start of the session.

This legislation now heads to the governor’s desk for her signature.

The House is still on the floor as of the posting of this piece.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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