Legislature passes bill to keep cities like Austin from regulating rideshares

The Senate passed a bill that will regulate ride-sharing companies statewide over-riding Austin's existing ordinance.

AUSTIN - The Texas senate gave the final 'OK' Wednesday on House Bill 100, which would regulate transportation networking companies statewide.

The passage reaffirms the possibility that ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft will return to the capital city. The companies left after Austin voters declared that they wanted ride-hailing drivers to be required to have fingerprint background checks.

The author of House Bill 100, Senator Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), has been crusading for the bill since May 2016 when the companies left.

"Just over one year ago, I pledged to my constituents and the people of Texas that I would bring an end to the kind of deliberately onerous and burdensome municipal regulations designed to restrict the free market, stifle innovation, and drive these companies out of business. Today, I'm proud to see that promise fulfilled." Schwertner said in a statement.

Governor Greg Abbott will have the final say on whether or not the bill becomes law.

While Uber has yet to release a statement, in an email they told KVUE they would return to Austin immediately after Abbott puts his final stamp on the bill.

Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Harrison released this statement in response to the bill passing.

“Ridesharing in Texas took a tremendous step forward today. Thank you to Senator Schwertner and Representative Paddie for defending consumer choice and all the stakeholders who have helped create safer roads and expand reliable, affordable rides for Texans. On behalf of the entire ridesharing community, thank you to all of the legislative champions who have helped guide this bill through the capitol.”

Mayor Steve Adler released the following statement on the bill's passing:

"I’m disappointed that the legislature chose to nullify the bedrock principles of self-governance and limited government by imposing regulations on our city over the objection of Austin voters. Our city should be proud of how we filled the gap created when Uber and Lyft left, and we now must hope that they return ready to compete in a way that reflects Austin’s values."

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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