New Mexico Lawmakers Rally Around Spaceport Secrecy Bill

New Mexico lawmakers rallied Friday around a proposal to provide greater confidentiality for aerospace companies working out of a taxpayer-funded space launch facility in southern New Mexico, over the objections of open-government advocates.

A Senate panel unanimously endorsed a bill that would provide exceptions to state open-records law for information about tenants at Spaceport America. The legislation broadens the definition of trade secrets that are exempt from public disclosure, adding information tied to business operations at the launch facility overseen by the state-funded New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

Managers of the Spaceport America hangar, testing facilities, rocket launch pad and specialized runway say greater confidentiality provisions are needed to compete for new aerospace-industry tenants against competition from a growing list of government-subsidized launch facilities.

Spaceport America CEO Dan Hicks said the secrecy provisions are in the best interest of taxpayers who want to see a return on state investments of more than $200 million in the facility.

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