NY Senate Votes To Accelerate Start Of Upstate Uber, Lyft

Jay Anderson
May 18, 2017

Sponsoring Sen. Charles Schwertner, said, "it's stating the obvious". "Transportation, by nature, is a regional concern". The Senate passed the bill on a 21-9 vote.

The measure now heads to Gov. Bill Walker's desk.

In advance of the bill's passage, Lyft - which exited Houston when the city rules went into effect in November 2014- is recruiting drivers, presumably in preparation to return to the city. When the bill was approved by the House in March, the companies said they remained committed to inclusive business policies and called the amendment "unnecessary" but stopped short of saying they would oppose the bill they'd lobbied heavily to see prevail. Huffines said Wednesday. "Government regulations are a poor substitute for market forces and personal responsibility". "This bill is about protecting the safety of our constituents, as well as economic liberty".

"If we can prevent even one individual from getting behind the wheel of his or her auto and prevent even one disaster", Kennedy said, "then this bill is well worth it".

State Reps. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, added the language, citing a need to clarify exactly who received protection from discrimination. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, comes amid a legislative session in which some GOP lawmakers have pushed for measures that would keep transgender Texans from using public bathrooms that match their gender identities. A vote in that house is expected early next week.

Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Harrison released this statement in response to the bill passing.

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Some legislators, including many in western NY, got pushback from constituents, as well as the companies, to amend the bill to allow it to take effect earlier.

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Houston and Austin are among the cities that now require fingerprinting and background checks.

HB 100 would override the state's 20 or so municipal ride-hailing ordinances and instead put such companies under the oversight of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The bill requires annual background checks, but not fingerprinting.

After Austin implemented such a rule, Uber and Lyft spent millions in a campaign past year to overturn it - an effort that ultimately failed when voters rejected a ballot proposition on the issue.

A statement from Uber said 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".

Other reports by BadHub

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