A bill seeking to stop local governments in Missouri from regulating vehicle-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft has stalled in the Senate in the final days of the General Assembly, but backers have attached it to a pair of Senate bills as an amendment in hopes of outflanking opposition.
Under the House-backed legislation, a vehicle-for-hire company would no longer have to purchase vehicle licenses from Kansas City regulators, and individual drivers wouldn’t need to acquire a certificate from the city proving they passed a background check, have proper insurance and are legally able to work in the country.
Instead, Uber and Lyft would pay $5,000 for an annual permit from the Missouri Department of Revenue to do business within the state. The companies would also have to perform background checks on drivers, maintain proper insurance and ensure each driver has a clean driving record. Critics note that it’s unclear whether the Department of Revenue would be able to enforce these provisions if they become law.
The bill also allows taxi companies to opt out of local regulations and instead comply with the less stringent statewide standards applied to vehicle-for-hire companies.
The House approved the legislation earlier in the year, but it’s become gridlocked in the Senate. With only days left to get a deal done, Uber and its legislative backers continue to search for a way to win over critics and soothe the concerns of skeptical Missouri senators.
Read more: Kansas City Star