Uber, other rideshare companies to be an issue in Tallahassee again

- State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, is promising a new effort to get statewide regulations passed for rideshare companies. In a meeting with reporters from around the state, Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner signaled there could be support in his chamber for a new bill.  "The technology is good, but we need to know, if God forbid there is ever a problem, that people are taken care of."

If the bill is similar to the one that did not pass in 2015, it would put insurance requirements in place for ride sharing companies to have a certain level of insurance for its drivers, something that Gardiner believes is important.

"From a state standpoint it should be about insurance, liability and protection for the consumer. Plain and simple, we as a state ought to at least have some blanket protections for the consumer that here is what you can expect if you are in an accident."

Gardiner worries that the current system in Florida with patchwork rules and regulations depending on the community is an invitation for problems.

"Everybody loves these technologies. Everybody loves AirBnB. Everybody loves Uber until there is a problem, until there is an accident, and then everybody is going to love their lawyer."

Under the previous Gaetz bill, local governments would be preempted from making new rules for ride sharing companies. The rule making would be reserved for the state. The ride share companies have been involved in several battles across the state over rules. Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale have already passed them, while Hillsborough County continues to battle over what rules should be in place. Uber tells Fox 35 they supported the Matt Gaetz bill in 2015, and he has been a champion for ride sharing, but they want to wait and see the exact bill language before they comment on what is proposed in 2016.

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