‘Uber Bill’ Cruises in Florida House

According to a Law360 article, on January 27, 2016, House Bill 509 passed through the state House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, requires drivers for transportation network companies (TNC’s) to pass background checks, obtain permits and meet insurance coverage minimums. The creation of H.B. 509 comes in response to concern from critics and supporters over TNC services being provided in compliance with state and local laws and making sure sufficient safety measures are in place.

“By cutting red tape for TNCs and other disruptive technologies, we are making Florida a state were innovation is welcomed and entrepreneurs are able to make their dreams a reality,” said Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island.

The passage of the bill gained support from leading service providers Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. as well as business groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida, and Governor Rick Scott.

Recently, the Florida Senate passed a similar bill, regarding insurance issues and TNC’s. Senate Bill (S.B.) 1118, sponsored by Senator David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, did not address permitting or background checks and notably did not include a provision in H.B. 509, which preempts local regulation on these services.

The two bills differ in their insurance requirements. H.B. 509 requires drivers or TNCs to provide at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per incident, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident, and $25,000 for property damage when the driver has the transportation network company’s app on but no passengers.  This is contrary to S.B. 1118 that calls for levels of $125,000, $250,000 and $50,000, respectively, any time they have their ride-hailing app turned on.

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

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008), Transportation Network Companies

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