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Airport authority bill makes it onto ‘rocket docket’

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A bill that would allow for the establishment of an independent air authority to govern the Roswell International Air Center is one of a series of bills vetoed by then-Gov. Susana Martinez, that lawmakers hope to fast-track through the legislative process.

The Regional Air Center Special Economic District, or House Bill 229 (HB 229), is one of 18 House bills listed in a press release issued by House Democrats that will be included in a legislative package known as the “rocket docket.”

The docket consists of bills passed by the Legislature but vetoed by Martinez during her administration. The bills will be combined into one package and taken up by a single committee before being voted on by the full House.

HB 229 was introduced in the last legislative session by state Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, and has been supported by city and county officials as a means to enhance economic development of the air center.

The legislation would allow a city or county in which a former military airfield is located to establish a district and appoint five to nine non-elected members to an authority charged with developing, managing and marketing the air center and adjacent properties.

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The bill would also allow the authority to issue revenue bonds, impose liens, hire employees and exercise eminent domain.

In a visit during her campaign last year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she would sign the legislation.

Lawmakers in both houses passed the legislation, but it was later vetoed by Martinez.

During a visit to Roswell last year, Martinez said she vetoed the legislation because the members of the authority would be appointed and not elected.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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