The governor of Arizona has signed into law a bill that provides commercial spaceflight companies in the state with liability protections similar to those in several other states. Gov. Jan Brewer signed HB2163 on Wednesday, a days after both the Arizona Senate approved an amended version of the bill and the state House then concurred with the Senate’s version. The bill attracted little opposition in either legislative chamber, with a final House vote of 58-1 in favor of the bill.
The bill, similar to existing laws in states such as Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas, allows spaceflight companies to have their customers sign liability release forms prior to their flights, and affirms that such liability releases are valid. The state Senate stripped some of the details in the House bill, which originally specified the language and format of the liability waiver. The final bill also does not include exceptions for gross negligence and intentional harm contained in the House bill.
The legislation was sought primarily by WorldView Enterprises, an Arizona company that plans to perform high-altitude balloon flights. Last year, the company received a determination by the FAA that such flights, to altitudes of about 30 kilometers, could be licensed as launches by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. The company is proposing to perform those flights from the town of Page in northern Arizona.