Sen. Jeff Brandes’ ride-share advertising bill cleared its second committee stop Monday.
The Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology committee advanced the bill with little debate and only one Senator, Audrey Gibson, voting against it.
The bill would clear the way for limousine companies to operate similarly to transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft and allow such companies to share the same regulations.
“For four years we had a major battle … and now the limousines want to become TNCs,” Brandes said.
He said the bill allows Florida to continue to be a leader in the ride-share space, a long-running goal for the St. Petersburg Republican.
Brandes’ bill would also allow ride-share companies to use digital advertising on top of vehicles operating under the platform if drivers, who typically operate under a company’s platform with their own vehicles, agreed to use the billboards.
The bill places limits on the sign’s size restricting them to no taller than 20 inches and no longer than 54 inches. Regardless of the size, the sign could not extend beyond the rear or front windshield or otherwise impair the driver’s vision.
The signs could only operate while the vehicle is running and while the driver is logged onto a TNC platform.
Gibson’s no-vote centered on that provision. She argued advertising on vehicles might not be appropriate in communities.
“I call it visual pollution. In some communities I just don’t think it’s appropriate,” Gibson said, noting that she may vote differently if the bill makes it to the Senate floor.
The proposed legislation also requires advertisements to abide by all state guidelines regarding lighting requirements.
An amendment approved Monday would also restrict ads that don’t comply with the state’s rules regarding deceptive and unfair advertising.
The signs would be prohibited from advertising any illegal goods or services or any ads that include nudity, depictions of violence or disparaging or false advertisements.
Transportation network companies would also have to provide at least 10% of their advertising stock to governments, nonprofit or charitable organizations at no cost.
Transportation network companies are any business that provides prearranged rides, typically through the use of a mobile application. The bill does not address whether drivers working under a transportation network platform, who are typically independent contractors who use their personal vehicles, would have to agree to use the digital advertising in order to continue working for the company.
Brandes bill heads next to the Rules Committee, which meets on Wednesday. It’s not immediately clear if his bill will be added to that agenda.
Rommel’s bill has cleared two of its three stops and heads next to the House State Affairs Committee.