Space industry supporters, backed by two former astronauts, held their annual Space Day in the Florida Legislature on Wednesday, seeking support for legislation to make the state more competitive for space businesses. This includes securing $10 million in funding for Space Florida as well as passing legislation to provide tax credits for spaceflight projects. The bill, SB 1224 in the Florida Senate and HB 873 in the Florida House, would provide $10 million in non-transferable and $25 million in transferable corporate income tax credits per year, although they cannot be claimed before October 2015. Supports said there’s a good chance the legislation will be enacted given support from key legislators and because “business incentives aimed at creating jobs are sure to appeal to Gov. Rick Scott,” according to Sunshine State News.
Another space-related bill expected to win passage in Florida is SB 652/HB 703, which would amend the state’s existing law that provides immunity to spaceflight operators by repealing a 2018 sunset date for the law that was in the original legislation. Similar legislation is also making its way through the Texas Legislature. On Tuesday the Texas Senate unanimously passed SB 115, which would provide immunity for spaceflight operators in Texas. The legislation was uncontroversial enough members were cracking Star Trek jokes prior to voting on the bill, the Austin American-Statesman reported. This is the second time the state’s senate has approved such legislation: a similar bill, SB 2105, won unanimous approval from the Texas Senate in 2009 but died in the Texas House.