Nevada Legislature: Senate strikes compromise on Uber regulations

State lawmakers have struck a compromise on a contentious proposal to regulate Uber and other ride-hailing companies in Nevada, saying their new bill will raise $90 million to $100 million every two years to relieve a state budget deficit.

Senators agreed Thursday to amend AB175, a bill that changes rules about taxicab crash lawsuits, and add language that would regulate so-called “transportation network companies.” The companies allow people to hail a ride from independent drivers using a smartphone.

The Senate is expected to vote on the amended bill as soon as Friday.

It’s a major breakthrough that comes about a month after the original bill — dubbed the most-lobbied of the session — died in a Senate vote after Democrats opposed it.

The new language removes a proposed 25-cent-per-ride surcharge in the original bill, SB439. It instead places a 3 percent tax on the total fare for rides hailed through a cab company or a transportation network company.

The first $5 million earned through those fees would go to the state Highway Fund for road construction projects. The rest would go to the general fund.

Lawmakers learned this week that tax streams are expected to yield about $150 million less than what’s needed to fully fund Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $7.4 billion, two-year budget. An amendment proposed Wednesday would raise the cigarette tax even further, but is expected to still fall short of the budget’s needs.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson vowed Thursday to find another $19 million to fully fund requests for a medical school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Fresh revenue through the ride-hailing regulation bill could meet that need.

The bill also addresses other concerns about companies like Uber and Lyft, according to Republican Sen. James Settelmeyer. It requires disclosures about insurance coverage and calls for a study to determine whether ride-hailing companies’ background checks are sufficient.


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