Eldridge taking lead on Massachusetts Senate ride-hailing bill
BOSTON >> The Senate's version of a bill approved by the House to establish a regulatory structure for the growing ride-for-hire industry is being assembled by a group of senators with the expectation that the upper chamber will debate it this session, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said Wednesday.
Sen. James Eldridge, the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, is heading up the effort and working with Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Karen Spilka, Judiciary Committee Co-Chairman William Brownsberger and Housing Committee Co-Chairwoman Linda Dorcena Forry to craft the legislation, Rosenberg said.
"Senator Eldridge told me this weekend he's still working with his group of colleagues and they're still working on a draft," Rosenberg told reporters after speaking to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. "I don't have a date yet but it's being actively worked on and we do intend to bring it to the floor."
The House last month passed a bill (H 4049) that would create a state division to oversee transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, whose drivers would also undergo background checks that a main architect of the bill described as "one of the most comprehensive" in the country.
The House bill stopped short of mandating for ride-for-hire drivers the kind of fingerprint checks that the city of Boston has recently started using to vet cab drivers, which Rosenberg has previously expressed a willingness to consider.
"I think we should look at it seriously and I'm inclined to think it's a good idea. If we're doing it for taxi drivers, I don't know why we wouldn't do it for Uber drivers," Rosenberg said on WGBH's "Greater Boston" last month. "We're trying to create a fair and level playing field for these two forms of transportation, which look very, very similar except in the way they're structured financially."
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