Knight Announces Establishment Of New House NASA Caucus

Rep. Steve Knight

WASHINGTON, DC (Steve Knight PR) — Today, Rep. Steve Knight and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) announced the creation of the NASA Caucus to strengthen policymaker awareness of NASA’s many connections to our national security and economic interests, provide as a bipartisan forum to discuss the scientific and technological challenges to American flight and space exploration endeavors, and serve as a focal point for public and private sector air and space expertise that cover the full range of NASA’s initiatives.

“There has been a lack of representation in the educational activities on Capitol Hill for many of NASA’s most important programs. Many of these programs that are critical to U.S. national interests, and there is an interest here to learn more and support them. But the current landscape does not yet support that level of interest,” said Rep. Knight “I am proud to stand up this caucus so we can bring timely information to policymakers on these important issues related to exploration, research and development, and strategic investments vital to the future of U.S. air and space competitiveness. I look forward to working with the members of this caucus to ensure this institution has the tools it needs to build on the many contributions it has made to American achievement.”

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Commercial Human Spaceflight Industry Lightly Regulated

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by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

U.S. regulations for commercial human spaceflight give the wide latitude to develop and fly their launch systems while providing substantial protections about being sued for injuries and deaths resulting from accidents. What follows is is a brief summary of the provisions, most of which have been in place since December 2004.
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House Science Committee Gives Industry What It Wants

Capitol Building
The commercial space industry had a great day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, with the Republican-controlled House Science Committee giving it most of what it wanted while swatting away proposed changes from the minority Democrats.

Among the goodies approved by the committee: a decade-long extension of the moratorium on regulating commercial human spaceflight;  a nine-year extension of industry-government cost sharing for damages caused by launch accidents; and an act that would give companies property rights to materials they mine from asteroids.

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Mr. Knight Goes to Washington

State Sen. Steve Knight
Steve Knight

Republican Steve Knight was sworn into Congress today as the new House representative for California’s 25th District, replacing retiring Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon.

Knight, who had been a supporter of the space industry while serving in the California State Senate, has been appointed to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, whose responsibilities include NASA, FAA and other agencies.

He is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Small Business Committee.

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Political Update: McCarthy Moves Up, Knight to Vie for House Seat

Rep. Kevin McCarthy
Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a supporter of commercial space legislation, has moved up in the leadership of House of Representatives. Meanwhile, another commercial space supporter, California State Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), will be competing to represent California in the Congressional district that adjoins McCarthy’s district.

McCarthy’s elevation to the position of House Majority Leader followed the defeat of Eric Cantor (R-VA), who lost a primary challenge earlier this month. The loss meant Cantor would not be able to stand for re-election as the Republican Party’s candidate in Virginia’s 7th District.

The Majority Leader is the second-ranked position in the House, with the responsibility of scheduling the legislative calendar and managing House committees.

McCarthy — who represents the 23rd Congressional district that includes Mojave, Rosamond, California City and Edwards Air Force Base —  had previously served as House Majority Whip. In that position, he kept track of legislation and rounded up legislators for important votes.

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Knight Introduces California Aerospace Innovation Hub Act

State Sen. Steve Knight
State Sen. Steve Knight

Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) has introduced the California Aerospace Innovation Hub Act, which would allow for the creation of special zones where aerospace companies would enjoy tax and regulatory privileges.

“It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would create geographically based aerospace hubs around existing aerospace manufacturing clusters, and that within the aerospace hubs aerospace manufacturers and related businesses would benefit from special tax preferences, streamlined regulations, and work schedule flexibility,” the measure reads.

According to the Legislative Counsel’s digest of the bill, the law currently provides incentives to encourage industry to locate in California. Examples of such incentives include

“a program that allows local governments to establish a capital investment incentive program to pay a capital investment incentive amount to the proponents of a qualified manufacturing facility in the aerospace business, and a sales and use tax exemption for the gross receipts from the sale of, and the storage, use, or other consumption of, qualified tangible personal property purchased by a person engaged in aerospace products and parts manufacturing for use primarily in manufacturing, processing, refining, fabricating, or recycling of property.”

Knight introduced the measure on Feb. 13. It is now before the Senate Rules Committee.

California Legislature Guts Knight’s Informed Consent Law

State Sen. Steve Knight
State Sen. Steve Knight

An effort by State Sen. Steve Knight to extend liability protections to spaceflight providers and spacecraft manufacturers, equipment suppliers, and service providers is failing in the California Legislature.

The Senate has removed language from the measure that would have required that a spaceflight provider to enter into “a reciprocal waiver of claims with its contractors, subcontractors, customers, participants, and contractors and subcontractors of the customers or participants, as specified.”

The reciprocal waiver language was a substitute for an original provision in the bill that would have expanded the definition of a spaceflight entity to include “a manufacturer or supplier of components, services, or vehicles.” The Senate had earlier removed that language from the measure.

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New Video Series on Commercial Space Activities

Video Caption: We follow certain entrepreneurs, public officials, and private citizens that are actively shaping a new kind of space race, and in the process, redefining what it means to explore the cosmos. This pilot episode of the new monthly web series Private Space, features an interview with California State Sen. Steve Knight, the lead author of California’s Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act.

Learn more about the series on our blog: www.LifeAssembledStudios.com/Blog/
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Spaceflight Liability Changes Advance in California Legislature

State Sen. Steve Knight
State Sen. Steve Knight

The California State Senate is moving forward with changes to a law that limits the liability of spacecraft operators and their suppliers for any injuries or deaths they cause to participants.

The measure, sponsored by State Sen. Steve Knight (R-Lancaster), would require spacecraft operators to enter into a “reciprocal waiver of claims with its contractors, subcontractors, customers, participants, and contractors and subcontractors of the customers or participants” to hold each other blameless in the event of an incident.

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Steve Knight to Run for Congress

State Sen. Steve Knight
State Sen. Steve Knight

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

California State Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), a key supporter of commercial space, could be heading to Congress next year with the pending retirement of Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita).

McKeon, 75, announced on Thursday that he would not seek an 11th term representing California’s 25th District, which includes parts of the aerospace-rich Antelope Valley that Knight represents in the State Legislature. Knight earlier stated that he would run for Congress if McKeon decided not to seek re-election.

Knight is one of several Republican and Democratic candidates who have already declared their intentions to run for the position. The 25th District includes the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster and the southern Antelope Valley. The region has a proud aviation and space heritage, hosting Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works as well as the facilities where the space shuttles were built. The district is home to many employees who work at nearby Edwards Air Force Base and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

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Steve Knight Weighs Run for Congress

State Sen. Steve Knight
State Sen. Steve Knight

California State Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), a key supporter of commercial space, says he will run for Congress next year in the 25th District should the current office holder, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), decides to retire, the Antelope Valley Press reported today.

McKeon, 75, has not announced his plans, but there is widespread speculation in political circles that he will elect to step down next year rather than seek another two-year term, the newspaper reported.

The state senator, whose father William J. “Pete” Knight flew the X-15 rocket plane, has been a key backer of commercial space measures in the California Legislature. He introduced a limited liability bill designed to protect commercial space providers from passenger lawsuits that was approved with revisions. He also has introduced several other commercial space bills now being considered by legislators.

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AIAA Backs California Spaceflight Sales Tax Exemption Bill

State Sen. Steve Knight
State Sen. Steve Knight

Reston, Va. (AIAA PR) – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) endorses California Senate Bill 19, “The Space Flight Sales Tax Exemption Act.” The bill, sponsored by Sen. Steve Knight (Rep. – 21st Dist.), would give sales and use tax exemptions to equipment and materials used to construct facilities designed to launch and operate space vehicles.

AIAA President Mike Griffin stated: “With threats growing daily to the vibrant aerospace sector of California’s economy, AIAA and its members endorse the passage of California State Senate Bill 19, ‘The Space Flight Sales Tax Exemption.’ This bill promises to alleviate some of the conditions that have hampered growth in this vital sector of California’s economy, and will allow aerospace firms in California to keep their high-paying jobs in the state.

“The bill also promises to spur innovation throughout the state, as it creates the incentive for companies that have not yet entered the aerospace marketplace to get into the market. The California aerospace sector is one of the main pillars of both the California economy and our nation’s economy, and passage of Senate Bill 19 will ensure that that pillar is a strong one for years to come,” Griffin added.

The Space Flight Sales Tax Exemption Act expands the current tax exemptions in the California code, which are extended to “the gross receipts from the sale of, and the storage, use, or other consumption of, qualified property for use in space flight,” and expands those exemptions to “also include equipment and materials used to construct, reconstruct, or improve new or existing facilities designed to operate, launch, manufacture, fabricate, assemble, or process equipment that facilitates the renovation, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of commercial space launch sites.”

About AIAA

AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.

McCarthy and Knight Urge Passage of California Spacecraft Liability Expansion

State Sen. Steve Knight
State Sen. Steve Knight

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and State Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, have penned an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee promoting an effort to expand liability protections to spacecraft manufacturers and equipment suppliers:

Last year, the California Legislature passed the Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law, assisting space tourism firms by providing limited indemnification. The California Senate is now considering Senate Bill 415 to extend the liability limitation to manufacturers and suppliers, which is critical to ensure that California stays competitive with states such as New Mexico and Texas.

If we are truly committed to economic prosperity, we need to continue to reduce over-regulation and over-litigation. As Californians, rather than allowing California’s unfriendly business climate to restrict opportunity and increase costs that stifle future innovation, we must instead champion solutions that create a new business climate that preserves the California Dream, where an individual can still dream big, take risks and make the impossible a reality.

A legislative committee held a public hearing last week and took testimony on the issue. Legislators have delayed consideration of the bill until January 2014.

Read the full essay.

Action on Extending California’s Spaceflight Liability Law Postponed to January

California_Great_SealSACRAMENTO (Steve Knight PR) — A measure to address an emerging commercial space travel industry in California authored by Senator Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) was held in the Senate Judiciary Committee today in order to work with committee members and industry leaders on the best strategy to move forward in California.

Senate Bill 415 seeks to extend limited liability protections that now cover spaceflight operators to include commercial space manufacturers and suppliers. The bill will be heard again in January 2014, when a vote will be taken before the bill continues through the legislative process.

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