Florida Governor Rick Scott said Monday that he will sign a bill which would create a single statewide set of rules governing ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
The bill, which passed unanimously in the House and passed the Senate on a 36-1 vote, would essentially preempt most local regulation of ride-hailing services. Currently, companies like Uber and Lyft — also called “transportation network companies” or TNCs — face a patchwork of different rules in different cities across the state. Once the bill is signed into law, those existing regulations would be superseded by new statewide rules.
Those rules include a requirement that Uber and Lyft vehicles carry insurance with at least $1 million in coverage for death, bodily injury, and property damage. Companies would also have to adopt a zero-tolerance drugs and alcohol policy as well as a non-discrimination policy — both of which Uber and Lyft have in place already — and would be required to conduct background checks. Drivers won’t be allowed to work for ride-hailing companies with any of the following on their records:
- Three or more moving violations in the past three years
- A felony in the past five years
- A misdemeanor for DUI, reckless driving, hit-and-run, or 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
The law was opposed by both the taxicab industry as well as local government groups like the Florida League of Cities, which said it fundamentally opposes laws which undercut local governments’ regulatory and oversight authority.
“Under this legislation, cities and counties would have zero authority to regulate or address concerns with transportation network companies,” said League of Cities lobbyist Megan Sirjane-Samples.
In fact, local governments won’t even be allowed to make ride-hailing companies or drivers pull a business permit after the new law goes into effect July 1. The law also specifically prohibits local governments from imposing special taxes or fees on ride-hailing companies. Airports and seaports would still be able to charge companies “reasonable” fees to pick up riders.
Pensacola city officials reached an agreement with Uber in 2016 which allows the company’s drivers to pick up passengers at Pensacola International Airport in exchange for a $2.50 fee per trip.
“On behalf of thousands of Uber driver partners and millions of Florida residents and visitors who rely on ride-sharing, we thank Gov. Scott for his commitment to ensuring our state remains at the forefront of innovation and job creation,” said Javi Correoso, Uber Florida’s public affairs manager. “Upon the governor’s signature, Floridians and tourists will have access to a safe, reliable and affordable transportation option. We look forward to his official signature on this landmark legislation.”