News Release from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

November 8, 2010
CONTACT: Mark Langford at 210-932-2568

Uresti pre-files space flight liability bill

Sen. Carlos Uresti on Monday pre-filed a bill for the 82nd Texas Legislature designed to help a West Texas space flight company protect itself from unjust lawsuits.

Senate Bill 115 would strengthen the legal waivers of liability signed by passengers who were made aware of the risks involved with sub-orbital space flight.

"This bill will make sure that courts enforce waivers of liability and provide a greater degree of certainty to private space flight companies," Uresti said. "The space tourism industry holds a lot of promise for the West Texas economy, and this bill should give it a big boost."

While the measure would apply to any commercial space flight company in Texas, Uresti hopes it will further the development of Blue Origin, which is developing a vertical take-off and landing vehicle at its space port in Van Horn.

Created by founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin is already one of the largest taxpayers in Culberson County. The company hopes to begin sub-orbital journeys into space by 2012.

"For years we've been gazing at the skies from McDonald's Observatory, and now West Texas will have a facility that will actually let people go there," Uresti said. "I am excited about this project and the potential it holds for further economic development in this part of the state. They sky really is the limit."

Monday was the first day that lawmakers could pre-file legislation for the 82nd session, which convenes Jan. 11.

Senator Uresti represents Senate District 19, a 55,000 square mile area extending from San Antonio in Bexar County to the Lower Valley of El Paso County. The largest legislative district in the nation, it spans two time zones and contains nine of the 14 border counties in Texas, two-thirds of the U.S.–Mexico border within Texas, and all or part of 23 counties.