Sunday, July 15, 2018

Florida House votes unanimously to stop cities, counties regulating Uber

TALLAHASSEE — It took just seconds for the Florida House to vote unanimously to overrule local governments' regulation of ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

By a unanimous vote Wednesday, the chamber approved the bill (HB 221), which sets statewide requirements for insurance and background checks on those companies. There was no debate, nor were there significant opening or closing remarks by the bill's sponsor, Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor.

Significantly, the bill also prevents local governments from passing their own regulations on these companies or instituting bans in their jurisdictions. That has been a cause for conflict in past years, but the unanimous vote Wednesday signals it no longer is — at least in the Florida House.

Supporters say this is a crucial change that will eliminate inconsistent regulations across county lines. As an example, the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission for years fought to block companies like Uber and Lyft, while Pinellas County did not.

It was expected that the House would pass the bill given widespread support in the chamber last year. The Senate never took the bill up for a vote last year.

The Senate version of the bill this year still has to be approved by the Rules Committee, where it has been scheduled for a Thursday morning hearing.

Contact Michael Auslen at [email protected] Follow @MichaelAuslen.

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