March 29, 2017
Mitch Perry, Florida Politics
Momentum remains strong in Tallahassee for the first bill in Florida to regulate ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft.
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the proposal (SB 340) unanimously without debate.
The bill, sponsored by St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes, would require ride-sharing companies to carry $100,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death and $25,000 for property damage while a driver is logged onto their app but hasn’t secured a passenger. While with a rider, drivers would be required to have $1 million worth of coverage.
It also requires transportation network companies to have third parties conduct local and national criminal background checks on drivers.
While all indications are the bill will get through the Legislature this spring, opposition from certain groups continues.
Former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, now a lobbyist for the Florida Taxi Association, said the bill would tie the hands of local governments from regulating their own communities. Bogdanoff referenced problems with “exorbitant” numbers of cars circling around Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades. She said issues that had been resolved between local governments and Uber and Lyft would be removed from the books, and also acknowledged the cold hard reality of the political calculus this session.