A bill to regulate Uber and Lyft statewide is heading to the Senate. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says these ride sharing services keep people safe, offers an affordable ride, and provides thousands of employment opportunities. He says very rarely do lawmakers get a chance to do something that really affects people’s lives.
“This in no uncertain terms will give us that opportunity because we know if we can keep people off the streets drinking and driving, it reduces fatal accidents,” Havard said.
The measure would establish a blanket set of regulations and collect a fee of one percent, ending various deals some local municipalities have with the companies. New Orleans has one such agreement in which the city charges riders a 50 cent fee. New Orleans Representative Gary Carter was upset this bill would supersede that arrangement.
“I don’t think any private company should be able to go to any parish of this state, negotiate a deal, and then try to get out of it at the state level,” Carter said.
Carter says New Orleans would lose $2 million if this bill threw out the city’s deal with Uber. But Monroe Representative Jay Morris says the Big Easy is charging riders the highest fee in the country. He says the City of New Orleans used Uber’s desire to move into the city to get the most money possible out of the business.
“The city of New Orleans is indirectly gouging $2 million a year out of consumers that are using Uber in the city,” Morris said.
Carter’s amendment to maintain local arrangements was rejected, and the bill passed on a 79-12 vote.