Uber, Lyft bill heads to gov­er­nor

Rideshare firm reg­u­la­tions would be uni­form statewide

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - News Ser­vice of Florida

Af­ter years of de­bate, the Florida Se­nate on Wed­nes­day quickly passed a bill that would cre­ate statewide reg­u­la­tions for rideshar­ing com­pa­nies such as Uber and Lyft.

The Se­nate voted 36-1 to ap­prove the bill (HB 221), which al­ready passed the House and now goes to Gov. Rick Scott.

Sen. Jack Lat­vala, R-Clear­wa­ter, cast the only dis­sent­ing vote.

Com­pa­nies such as Uber and Lyft heav­ily sup­ported the bill, which would pre­vent vary­ing lo­cal reg­u­la­tions across the state on the fast-grow­ing “trans­porta­tion net­work com­pany” in­dus­try.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments and the taxi­cab in­dus­try, which of­ten is reg­u­lated lo­cally, have long op­posed a statewide reg­ula--

Lo­cal laws, such as those charg­ing fees in South Florida coun­ties, would all go away if Scott signs the bill.

tory frame­work for rideshar­ing com­pa­nies.

But the bill eas­ily moved through the Leg­is­la­ture this year and drew vir­tu­ally no dis­cus­sion on the Se­nate floor Wed­nes­day.

Lo­cal laws such as those charg­ing fees in South Florida coun­ties, Or­lando and other large metropoli­tan ar­eas around the state would all go away if Scott signs the bill.

The state law would de­mand driv­ers carry in­sur­ance of $50,000 for death and bod­ily in­jury per per­son, $100,000 for death and bod­ily in­jury per in­ci­dent, and $25,000 for prop­erty dam­age. The com­pa­nies would have to con­duct back­ground checks, with the fol­low­ing is­sues pre­vent­ing some­one from be­ing a driver:

• Three or more mov­ing vi­o­la­tions in the past three years.

• A felony in the past five years.

• A mis­de­meanor for DUI, reck­less driv­ing, hit an­dor flee­ing from a po­lice of­fi­cer in the past five years.

•A mis­de­meanor for a vi­o­lent of­fense, sex­ual bat­tery or in­de­cent ex­po­sure in the past five years.

• Driv­ing with a sus­pended li­cense in the past three years.

• Ap­pear­ing in a sex of­fender reg­istry.

• Not hav­ing a valid driver’s li­cense, the proper in­sur­ance and a ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments still would be able to keep pickup fees charged by ports and air­ports, as long as those ports charge taxi com­pa­nies the same amount.

Uber, Lyft and ma­jor busi­ness groups is­sued state­ments prais­ing pas­sage of the bill and urg­ing Scott to sign it.

“Florida law­mak­ers voted to­day to re­move the road­block con­structed by years of en­trenched in­ter­ests and en­sure res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike have choices when it comes to trans­porta­tion,” Brew­ster Be­vis, a se­nior vice pres­i­dent of As­so­ci­ated In­dus­tries of Florida, said in a state­ment.

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