In a repeat of last year’s action, the Missouri House initially approved a proposal to make life easier for ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft through statewide regulation Tuesday.
The argument for the bill sponsored by Kirk Mathews, R-Eureka, hasn’t changed much since the 2016 legislative session, when the measure was debated but came up short in the Senate.
Local regulations form “barriers to entry,” Mathews said, citing the need for drivers to register in multiple cities to legally complete a trip from St. Louis to St. Charles.
The measure would alleviate this problem by exempting ride-hailing companies from local rules like those set by the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission. It would require the companies pay an annual $5,000 fee to the state — but not local or municipal fees or taxes — and allow them to conduct their own background checks and vehicle inspections.
In return, Uber has again promised 10,000 new jobs for part-time drivers if the legislation passes.
Lyft will arrive Thursday in Springfield, under similar rules and indicated it could expand further if the bill succeeds.