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Ride-share advertising bill rolls to Governor’s desk

Ads atop Ubers? That may be the future.

Ride-share advertisements may be allowed soon, if Gov. Ron DeSantis signs legislation authorizing the practice for Uber, Lyft, and like services.

The bill, along with a swath of others, moved to the Governor’s desk Tuesday.

The legislation, sponsored in the House by Rep. Bob Rommel (HB 1039) and the Senate by Sen. Jeff Brandes (SB 1352), was approved this winter. The measure would allow illuminated and digitally operated advertisements on top of vehicles.

Conditions apply, of course, regarding the parameters of said advertising.

Signs can range from 20 inches to 54 inches with the condition that they don’t block the driver’s line of sight.

The signs can only be turned on while vehicles are in-service.

Nonprofits and charitable organizations would have to be ceded 10% of the advertising space, which is barred from being used to advertise illicit products.

The bill would also 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.

The bill had no resistance in the House. In the Senate, the measure passed 37-2, with a couple of Democrats bucking the consensus.

In Senate committees, there was some thought that the bill may facilitate “visual pollution,” though those qualms didn’t prove prohibitive for the vast majority of members.

“In some communities, I just don’t think it’s appropriate,” Sen. Audrey Gibson mused.

Transportation network companies offer 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.

While the ride-share companies are typically thought of as those like Uber or Lyft, this bill more specifically targets an out-of-state company called Firefly that specializes in making the car billboards.

The bill would become law upon the Governor’s signature.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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