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Missouri-wide regulations for Uber, Lyft sent to Gov. Greitens’ desk

Updated at 1:35 p.m. with bill passing — The three-year battle to get a ride-hailing bill to the governor’s desk is finally over.

The Missouri House overwhelmingly passed HB 130 on Thursday by a 144-7 vote, which would craft statewide regulations for Uber, Lyft and other app-based companies to operate anywhere in the state.

The rules would require each company to pay a $5,000 licensing fee and set up separate contracts with airports. Individual drivers would have to have liability insurance and submit to background checks, but wouldn’t be required to obtain a chauffeur’s license.

“They are independent contractors, which means they are now business owners,” bill sponsor Republican Rep. Kirk Mathews of Pacific said. “They get to say when they want to work and when they don’t want to work.”

Ride-hailing companies currently operate in four cities in Missouri: St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia. Uber has had a long-running legal battle with the St. Louis Taxicab commission over its efforts to operate there.

Democratic Rep. Bruce Franks of St. Louis voted for the bill, but expressed concern about a rule that bars someone for five years from becoming a driver if they’ve been charged with resisting arrest.

“All too often, we know that resisting arrest and certain charges like that look different depending on what you look like and where you’re (from),” he said. “It’s very important to look deep inside of these bills and some of the stuff that we’re putting on there that could potentially hurt a particular community … Uber driving might be that profession that they need to get them over that hump.”

Mathews said Greitens is expected to sign the bill, although there’s been no official response yet from the governor’s office.

Original post from April 12

A bill to establish statewide regulations for Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride-hailing companies appears to be headed for final passage.

Only one senator, a Democrat from St. Louis County, voted against House Bill 130 on Tuesday. It now returns to the House because of a few changes, including removing a requirement that drivers obtain a chauffeur’s license and that ride-hailing companies get separate contracts with airports.

The bill’s main provisions include a $5,000 licensing fee be paid by the company and that drivers have liability insurance and submit to background checks.

iPhone displaying UberX partner app.
Credit File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio / Uber, MTC
/
Uber, MTC
iPhone displaying UberX partner app.

The sponsor, Republican Rep. Kirk Mathews of Pacific, said he’s fine with the Senate’s changes and that the bill could be sent to Gov. Eric Greitens as early as Thursday.

Recent attempts to adopt statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies have failed in large part to opposition from the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission.

The commission has been engaged in a long legal battle with Uber, seeking to ban the service unless the company agrees to the same local regulations as taxi drivers and companies.

Senate Democratic floor leader Gina Walsh of Bellefontaine Neighbors cast the lone “no” vote.

“They are still not held to the same standards as taxicabs in St. Louis,” she said.

But she chose not to block it, saying, “I knew the will of the body was to pass the bill, and voting ‘no’ was the only way to get my point across.”

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2020 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit .

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.
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