House votes to send proposed ridesharing company regulations to Governor Greitens

The state House has voted to send Governor Eric Greitens (R) a bill to regulate ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

Representative Kirk Mathews (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)
Representative Kirk Mathews (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representatives voted 144-7 to endorse House Bill 130, sponsored by Pacific Republican Kirk Mathews.  He told lawmakers such companies could mean thousands of jobs in Missouri, but those companies might leave the state if his bill failed.

“There’s enormous demand for these services in our state,” said Mathews.  “The economic driver that this can be for our state, not just in the way that there will be thousands of new small businesses, but keeping Missouri competitive to compete on the national stage for high-tech businesses.”

The bill would require such companies, which let customers use apps to connect them to drivers offering rides, to pay a $5,000 licensing fee and conduct driver background checks and vehicle inspections.  It would also exempt companies from local taxes and bar the hiring of drivers guilty of certain offenses.

The bill had broad bipartisan support, including from St. Louis Democrat Karla May, who had filed her own rideshare legislation.

“I just want to tell you congratulations and I’m excited,” May said to Mathews.  “I can’t wait to see these jobs come into fruition.”

HB 130 advanced in part because of a compromise with Kansas City and St. Louis, who wanted criminal background checks of rideshare drivers including fingerprinting.  Under the compromise, rideshare companies will perform checks on drivers and Kansas City and St. Louis can audit those records twice a year.

It is now up to Governor Greitens whether to sign HB 130 into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his action.  If it becomes law it will take effect on August 28.

Missouri House gives initial approval to ridesharing company regulations

The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill that would allow rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to expand services in the state.

Representative Kirk Mathews (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)
Representative Kirk Mathews (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Bill 130 would require background checks on national and local drivers, inspections of vehicles, an annual registration fee of $5,000, and would exempt such companies from local or municipal taxes.

It would allow such companies to expand beyond municipalities that have passed their own ordinances governing rideshare companies – so far that’s Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, and Springfield.

The bill is sponsored by Representative Kirk Mathews (R-Pacific).  He said the benefits of allowing transportation network companies to expand in Missouri include the creation of jobs and businesses, and a reduction in the number of drunk driving arrests in the state.

“At its core this bill is a free-market solution that produces jobs through innovation and technology,” said Mathews.  “Add Missouri to the list of 38 other states who have passed similar legislation and provided their citizens with the opportunities provided by transportation network companies.”

Mathews said the bill addresses concerns raised last year that Kansas City authorities would struggle to monitor the compliance of companies with the new regulations.

“We added an amendment that provides Kansas City the right twice each year to conduct a random audit on TNC drivers, with a fine for violation as well as other notification provisions,” said Mathews.

“The bill now also provides for TNCs to provide all necessary information to investigate and resolve any criminal complaints,” Mathews adds.

Representative Lauren Arthur (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)
Representative Lauren Arthur (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The House also voted to require companies to have policies on protecting the personal information of riders.  That was proposed by Kansas City Democrat Lauren Arthur.

She said users of Uber and Lyft often submit a great deal of personal information, “like your home address, your credit card information, and the TNC has the ability to collect records on your travel patterns – where you’re going, where you are at the moment.”

House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) on the opening day of the session named the bill as a priority.

Another favorable vote would send HB 130 to the state Senate.