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In a series of party line votes, the House Science Committee has approved a number of changes to the laws that govern the private commercial space industry.
Almost all of the changes were advocated by the industry itself, so in general they move to ease the regulatory and liability burdens that has been hampering the industry since the 2004 revisions to space law. While it is very unlikely commercial space can ever get free of strong federal regulation, these changes indicate that they can eventually get some of the worst regulations eased.
I should note also that, as expected, the Democrats opposed any easing of federal power. To them, all things must be controlled by the government, and to ease any regulations is to commit the most horrific of crimes. Note also that the Democratic lead in this opposition came mostly from Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-Maryland), who has announced her intention to run for the Barbara Mikulski’s senate seat. This mark-up hearing thus gives us an idea of the future impact of Edwards should she win.