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Summary: SB 1636 aligns the state statutory definitions describing spacecraft with federal definitions. This legislation also removes the ability to pursue an injunctive relief for noise nuisance as well as any damages that arise out of nuisances from developing and operating the spacecraft. Breach of contracts, federal, and state laws still require the same adherence and oversight. Lastly, the bill reduces the percent of funds a business must provide from 90% to 75% to participate in the Spaceport Trust Fund.
Analysis: Earlier this session we supported the identical House version of this legislation, HB 1791. SB 1636 provides the same legal protection against nuisance lawsuits for private spaceports as already granted to public airports. This allows a reasonable protection to the spaceflight industry so that they can confidently develop their industry without fear that their significant investment will be negated by frivolous lawsuits. The regulatory barriers to build and operate a private spaceport are significant. The federal regulatory process is exhaustive and includes public hearings and public comment periods. There is substantial time and opportunity within that process for legitimate noise concerns to be expressed and considered.
This legislation promotes free market economic development and specifically provides for private spaceports to be treated equally under the law with other similar industries with respect to frivolous noise lawsuits.