House passes bill to regulate Uber, other ride-booking services


The Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill regulating “transportation network companies” such as Uber and Lyft, and mandating insurance and other requirements.

But the measure also includes a provision that may not find favor in the Senate: It vests regulatory power over the ride-booking services solely with the state, cutting out local bodies such as the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission.

The measure (HB 509) passed 108-10. One Republican, state Rep. Brad Drake of Eucheeanna, joined nine Democrats in voting against the bill.

“We hope the Senate works quickly to take up this issue, and for Florida to join the more than 20 states across the country that have permanently secured the benefits of expanded access to safe transportation options and flexible work opportunities,” said Matt Gore, Uber’s general manager for Florida.

The bill requires auto insurance of “at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage” while the driver is giving a ride.

That means Uber and other drivers will “have adequate insurance coverage from the time the app is turned on until the app is turned off,” said Logan McFaddin, regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

“Many drivers operate under their personal auto insurance policy, which will not cover them if they are in an accident while using their vehicle for hire,” McFaddin said.

McFaddin said the bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Matt Gaetz, is based on model legislation that “has been passed in some form by 29 other states.”

David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said the measure “embraces innovation, strengthens job growth and provides opportunities for all Floridians and the 100 million plus tourists we welcome to our state annually.”

“With the House passage of the transportation network companies’ bill, Florida is taking steps to ensure that the Sunshine State is not being left behind other states,” he said.

A Senate bill to set statewide insurance standards for ride-booking drivers was cleared unanimously by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee last week.

That bill (SB 1118), sponsored by Altamonte Springs Republican David Simmons, only deals with insurance requirements and does not include a “preemption” provision.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


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