Business needs, transparency rules find balance at spaceport

The spaceport finally caught a break after years of flak. Three breaks, in fact.

Even so, Spaceport America was in the crosshairs of a sustained transparency debate in the recent legislative session.

As media and watchdog organizations like to remind you, transparency and open records in government are vital to a healthy democracy. But as an old business reporter, I also understand how cautious and downright paranoid high tech companies are about their internal information. They’re secretive for a reason.

So when headline writers at the New Mexican exclaim, “Transparency takes hit,” after the passage of a bill protecting customer information at the spaceport, I’m afraid I can’t agree.

The bipartisan Senate Bill 98, called the Commercial Aerospace Protection Act, started out exempting Spaceport client information from the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act  unless the company waives confidentiality. IPRA is the sacred cow of New Mexico journalists.