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Governor approves Spaceport privacy, 20 other bills

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A Mustang 6A rocket built by the New Mexico Tech Rocket Team in collaboration with White Sands Research and Developers LLC is seen during its successful launch from Spaceport America last year. (PHOTO COURTESY WHITE SANDS R and D LLC)

SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation late Friday that will grant more confidentiality to aerospace companies working at the Spaceport, amid a flurry of other action.

The Republican governor also approved a measure aimed at easing the paperwork burden on companies that enjoy certain tax breaks.

Altogether, she signed 21 bills and vetoed two on Friday.

The Spaceport bill was a major point of discussion during the legislative session, and it was revised repeatedly.

The version signed Friday exempts from public disclosure any aerospace customer information that would cause “substantial competitive harm” to the company. The exemption would have to be based on “specific factual evidence.”

Supporters said the legislation was critical to the effort to attract more companies in the incredibly competitive, secretive aerospace industry.

Martinez faces a Wednesday deadline to sign or veto bills passed in the closing days of the legislative session, when most of the work gets done. The session ended Feb. 15.

About 40 bills are awaiting action.

On Friday, the governor:

— Signed House Bill 194 to improve the system that grants tax breaks to businesses that buy products wholesale in order to resell them. The measure grants companies more flexibility in the evidence they can present to prove a transaction is nontaxable, in case of an audit.

— Vetoed a proposal that would have increased disclosures of lobbyist spending. Martinez said Senate Bill 67 didn’t go far enough.

— Vetoed a proposal, House Bill 151, that called for a needs assessment to evaluate how to better serve Native American students. Martinez said the bill was well-intentioned but an unfunded mandate.

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