House Republican Leader Dana Young has stood aside while other lawmakers tried to suss out how to regulate hired-car outfits like Uber and Lyft.
But her time on the sidelines is over, she told FloridaPolitics.com on Friday.
“I will be putting all my energy into this,” said Young, who’s represented her Tampa district since 2010. She didn’t say which of the many competing policy proposals she will eventually support.
Young explained that she stayed out of the debate because she was tied up with other issues, including gambling and craft beer.
Meantime, bills kept dying.
Previous efforts ran the gamut from just mandating certain kinds of insurance coverage to forbidding local governments from regulating Uber and others.
The ride-booking services argued they were technology companies first, connecting “people who need a ride with people who can provide one,” and should not be regulated like traditional taxis and limos.
The taxi and limo concerns said it’s only fair to make Uber and others play by the same rules, such as vehicle inspections, insurance coverage and driver background checks.
Young also watched as Hillsborough County’s Public Transportation Commission (PTC) – which regulates taxis, limos and wreckers – slammed Uber drivers with tickets and sued the San Francisco-based company.
“The dysfunction between the PTC and the transportation network companies has got to stop,” she said.
In fact, she said, one reading of the law that created the commission suggests that Uber, Lyft and similar companies are outside the PTC’s jurisdiction.
Young admits she has friends in the taxi industry and had hoped they would work out their differences with the ride-booking services.
“They didn’t,” she said. “So now, I’m involved.”
Roger Chapin, spokesman for the Florida Taxicab Association, wasn’t immediately available at his office Friday.
He told The Tampa Tribune this May that he wondered whether Uber would follow any law that impeded their business model. Chapin is vice president of Mears Transportation, a Central Florida taxi and hired-car provider.
“I think we know the answer,” he said. “If they spent half as much on compliance as they do on lobbyists and public relations, they could be legal throughout Florida.”