Texas Lawmakers Pass Statewide Ride-Hailing Regulations

Sen. Charles Schwertner R-Georgetown visits with State Rep. Chris Paddie R-Marshall after Senate passage of HB 100 which would regulate ride-hailing companies statewide.  

Uber and Lyft both now operate in a handful of markets in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Lafayette and the greater New Orleans area. The companies left after Austin voters declared that they wanted ride-hailing drivers to be required to have fingerprint background checks.

"Our city should be proud of how we filled the gap created when Uber and Lyft left, and we now must hope that they return ready to compete in a way that reflects Austin's values", Adler said.

Senator Tim Kennedy, a Democrat who is also from the Buffalo region, argues that having ride-hailing services available during the busy July 4 long holiday weekend could even cut down on drunken driving and potentially save lives. Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed in a Twitter message Wednesday night his intention to sign the bill, which would become law June 1.

It would then go to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature. Both have been pushing for statewide regulations to make it easier to operate across city and municipal boundaries; the nonprofit Texans for Public Justice says the companies has spent more than $2.3 million on an army of 40 lobbyists.

According to Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Harrison, the Senate passage was a success for all ridesharing companies.

Supporters of the bill held it up as a victory for limited government.

Only the bill by state Sen.

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"Bringing ride-sharing services likeUber and Lyft to the balance of the state will be a major plus, offering economic, environmental and public safety benefits".

"While House Bill 100 is an improvement on the status quo, it remains a missed opportunity to foster innovation".

The industry leaders turned off their apps here last May after voters rejected a substitute ordinance that the companies liked better than what the Austin City Council had put in place in late 2015.

A statement from Uber says the company plans to "launch" some of its services as early as June 29, saying they have been "waiting years to bring ride sharing services to NY state".

Schwertner, R-Georgetown, said his bill will bring an end to the chaos.

Under the new state rules, the companies would be licensed by the state, pay a $5,000 fee and agree to conduct a national background check, which they already do under their own internal policies.

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