NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The debate over regulating and insuring ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft played out in a Tennessee House committee Tuesday with a last second amended bill called “model legislation,” but skeptical voices are still being heard.
Representatives of Uber along with two insurance companies outlined what they called a “compromise” before the House Insurance and Banking Committee.
While several lawmakers on the committee applauded the effort, others raised issues that have been familiar since the ride-sharing companies started showing up in several Tennessee cities more than a year ago.
“It’s going to have a negative impact on thousands if not tens of thousands of drivers of taxis here in the United States,” Rep. JoAnne Favors told the committee.
Bill sponsor Rep. Cameron Sexton replied, “The insurance required in this bill is three times what any taxi cab in Tennessee is required to have; the backgrounds are more than what the taxi cabs have. It gives a rider a more comfort level, especially on the insurance side, than what taxis do in state of Tennessee.”
Rep. Sexton said the bill requires a driver to have primary insurance coverage along with a million dollars in liability during a trip.
Uber Nashville General Manager Luke Marklin told the committee that the market “is our biggest regulator” because it told us to institute background checks and the million dollar liability.
Watching the proceedings was limo company owner Donald Roy.
He told reporters afterward that it’s a bad bill that allows the ride sharing companies to be “unregulated by Davidson County and the Tennessee Department of Safety.”
The amended bill, which was quietly crafted in the last few days, was passed out of the committee by a voice vote to the surprise of opponents.
It will now be heard the House Finance Committee.
The proposed regulations would supersede local rules like the ones Nashville passed late last year.