Proposed state study could put local government regulation of Uber, Lyft on hold


(UPDATE: This proposal is now dead. See this report).

Last month Florida Politics reported on how state lawmakers might bring back the issues of regulating transportation network companies (TNC’s) such as Uber and Lyft in the Special Session now underway in Tallahassee. But such legislation failed to make the official call as presented by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner.

On Monday, however, news broke in Tallahassee that the Senate is offering a unique way to address issues with those ride-sharing companies, or at least block local governments such as the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission from doing anything about them anytime soon.

The Senate plan is to spend $10,000 on a study on the effect of Uber and Lyft on DUI incidents in the state. The study would be issued on April 1, 2016, and until, then local governments would be banned from passing any ordinances on such TNC’s.

The Hillsborough PTC has been at war with Uber and Lyft since they began operating in Tampa in April 2014. Neither company utilizes the same requirements for insurance cover and background checks as taxis, which puts them out of compliance with PTC regulations.

Bills were proposed in the Senate and House this year to deal with the issue, though neither came to fruition. The House version sponsored by Fort Walton Republican Matt Gaetz included a provision that would ban local governments from regulating or taxing companies such as Uber and Lyft.

Conducting a study on the effects of how Uber and Lyft affect DUI incidents is a new twist, however.

In January, Uber produced a study in tandem with Mothers Against Drunk Driving that said that Uber “could be a a powerful tool in the fight to reduce the number of drunk-driving crashes.”

The findings showed that in California, drunken-driving crashes fell 6.5 percent among drivers under 30 in the markets where Uber operates after the launch of uberX in the state.

However, a follow-up story by a reporter from ProPublica questioned the findings, specifically the evidence, or lack thereof, that was detailed in that study.

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704