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Email Insights: Taxicab Association calls on Jeff Brandes to ‘respect the legislative process’

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The Florida Taxicab Association is calling on Sen. Jeff Brandes to withdrawn a pro-Uber amendment and “respect the legislative process.”

In an email Thursday, the association said Brandes has pushed “model legislation” written by the ride-sharing company Uber “as a solution for any regulatory impediment the company may encounter in Florida now or in the future.”

“Uber’s ‘model legislation,’ which passed the House earlier this session (HB 509), lets them off the hook from a number of regulatory measures that traditional taxi and other vehicle-for-hire operators have complied with for decades,” the association said in an email.

The organization said the bill prohibits regulators from requiring fingerprints of Uber drivers for criminal background checks, sets lower limits for insurance for companies when they aren’t carrying passengers, and “gives Uber a pass on ADA laws.”

The association said as soon Sen. David Simmons introduced compromise legislation, Brandes proposed an amendment to replace Simmons proposal with the House bill.

“This is not the first time Sen. Brandes has done Uber’s bidding.  Late last week, when nobody was watching, Senator Brandes tried to slip in an amendment to an unrelated highway safety bill,” the email said. “The amendment by Brandes would have removed Uber from the definition of “for-hire” vehicles, made Uber exempt from any future regulations and ensured Uber never had to purchase commercial insurance.  Fortunately, that amendment didn’t pass.”

The Association said the amendment is “just an ‘end around’ on the process, undermining the committee meetings and negotiations that have taken place for months.”

“The FTA calls on Senator Brandes to drop his special amendment for Uber and respect the legislative process,” the association said in an email.

Simmons’ bill was on Thursday’s special order calendar.

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