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Gov. DeSantis signs bill allowing illuminated ads atop ride-share vehicles

The future of ride-share just got brighter … literally.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday that would authorize ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft to place illuminated and digitally operated advertisements on top of ride-share vehicles.

The legislation, sponsored in the House by Republican Rep. Bob Rommel (HB 1039) of Collier County, would allow illuminated and digitally operated advertisements ranging from 20 inches to 54 inches so long as the sign does not block the driver’s line of sight.

The bill also clears 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.

Additionally, 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 faced no resistance in the House. In the Senate, however, the measure passed 37-2 with a couple of Democrats bucking the consensus.

In Senate committees, there was discussion that the bill may facilitate “visual pollution,” though those qualms did not prove prohibitive for the vast majority of members.

“In some communities, I just don’t think it’s appropriate,”  said Sen. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville during committee debate.

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 law took effect upon receiving the Governor’s signature.

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capitol for Florida Politics. After his time with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studies Political Science & American Policy. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. You can reach Jason at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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