Illinois Governor Vetoes Anti-Ridesharing Bill, Taxis Protest

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Two bills forwarded by the taxi industry to provide a statewide regulatory framework for ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft were vetoed by the governor Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

“To rush into a whole new statewide regulatory network before the need for one is clear would not only stifle innovation, it would be a disservice to consumers who utilize the service while setting a troubling precedent for the future,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday in response to critics of the veto move. The state framework would have regulated surge pricing, ridesharing fares, new insurance requirements, background checks, the number of companies that could operate, and more.

Quinn went on to explain that the point of the veto is to allow local governments to apply regulation as is necessary, rather than moving forward with a one-size-fits-all approach. This means that the less restrictive regulations brought to the table by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will come into effect later on in the week.

But legislators on the other side aren’t giving up without a fight. The bill passed the House and the Senate with ease, and so opposing lawmakers are looking at options to override the governor’s veto.

Mara Georges, attorney for the Illinois Transportation Trade Association, struck back at the governor as well, saying that Quinn is clearly working for “Silicon Valley billionaires, instead of on the side of Illinois consumers.”

Georges further argued that the state bill constitutes, “the appropriate balance between protecting consumers and promoting transportation options,” while Emanuel’s legislation “doesn’t go far enough and will ultimately put consumers at risk.”

But Jacob Huebert, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, points out that the issue is much more complicated than simplistically pitting consumers against Silicon Valley.

“The veto is a good thing because the only real purpose was to limit ridesharing companies and their ability to compete with the taxi companies. The taxi industry originally lobbied the city government in Chicago to hamper ridesharing, and it became clear that although the city would impose some restrictions, they weren’t going to go very far. And so the taxi lobby ran down to Springfield to lobby politicians there,” Huebert told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The bill would mean fewer ridesharing vehicles on the road, which would result in higher prices for consumers. There were some safety provisions, but those are unnecessary because Chicago has already enacted its own safety ordinance. The statewide bill is redundant, as the state doesn’t even regulate other taxis at the state level, generally. And Chicago is the only city where ridesharing companies are currently operating,” Huebert added.

Uber is planning to bring 425 jobs to Illinois as a result of the governor’s decision on Monday.

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