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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Why 2016 probably won't be the year for an 'Uber bill'



Lawmakers are gearing up for more fights over a so-called “Uber bill” to regulate ride-booking companies.

House and Senate leaders are on record this year saying they want to see minimum insurance requirements for drivers with companies like Uber and Lyft.

Just don’t expect a bill to pass.

That’s because leaders in the House and Senate are still far apart on the big question: Should the state override local bans and rules set by cities and counties?

“I don’t see where the need for preemption is when a deal’s been cut in every major market,” Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said Tuesday. “I’m not sure why you would do that, but, you know, if the Legislature wants to, it’s fine.”

“As far as the House is concerned, it’s preemption or bust,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who sponsors preemption legislation that’s moving in the House.

Now, that’s not technically a “no” in the Senate, but similar legislation couldn’t make it through the two chambers last spring before the session fell apart.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, is expected to sponsor the legislation this session, as he did last, Gardiner said, and he has expressed no interest in putting preemption into the law.

But, Gaetz said, “hope springs eternal.”

And he may find luck in the 2017 session. Senate President-Designate Joe Negron, R-Stuart, appears to be a fan of an Uber bill with preemption. He tried to stop local government bans for one year via a line in the budget in June before it got removed from the Senate’s justice budget offer.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 4:43pm]


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