Legislation that would allow ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate statewide is one step closer to passing after a flawed bill to address the issue received approval in the Texas Senate on Wednesday.
With a vote of 20-11 House Bill 100 passed the state’s upper chamber and is on its way to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. If Abbott signs the bill as he is expected to, the new law would establish a statewide regulatory framework for ridesharing companies and pre-empt virtually all local ordinances that currently regulate the activity.
Due to the margin by which the bill passed, it will go into effect as soon as it is signed.
While the bill will allow the larger ridesharing companies to return to cities such as Austin and Corpus Christi who forced them to leave after applying onerous restrictions, the new regulatory regime isn’t something conservatives are thrilled about.
In a statement issued after the vote, conservative State Sen. Don Huffines (R–Dallas), who authored a free-market bill that would have only pre-empted local ordinances, grumbled about the bill as a “missed opportunity” and called it a “baby step.”
“While House Bill 100 is an improvement on the status quo, it remains a missed opportunity to foster innovation. Government regulations are a poor substitute for market forces and personal responsibility. I trust millions of Texans to make better decisions than 181 state legislators in Austin,” said Huffines. “While I voted for HB 100, I did so reluctantly and with reservations about how it could stifle future innovation.”
“Ultimately, this bill is just a baby step forward when it should be a giant leap in the direction of economic liberty and free market forces. I will continue my work to bring a true free market for ridesharing and taxi cabs alike, and I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues throughout the Interim and into the 86th Legislature in 2019,” Huffines added.