Illinois' rideshare bill isn't dead quite yet, Uber | Bleader

Illinois' rideshare bill isn't dead quite yet, Uber

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Governor Quinn, pictured with Uber regional GM Andrew MacDonald, vetoed Illinois rideshare bill in August.
It's only Tuesday, but Uber's having one hell of a week!

As Buzzfeed reported, the rideshare giant's senior VP Emil Michael suggested at a party that it would be expedient to create a team of dirt-digger-uppers to dig up dirt on journalists who write stories critical of their company, particularly Sarah Lacy, a silicon valley reporter who hasn't exactly ingratiated herself. Michael was under the impression the dinner was "off the record"—but someone had neglected to mention that to a Buzzfeed editor who was also in attendance. Whoops! CEO Travis Kalanick—who looks remarkably like founding father Alexander Hamilton—responded in a series of 13 emphatic tweets. Well done mounting a defense in 1,820 characters or less.

And, locally, as Chicago's public transit was literally aflame, Uber invited the ire of stranded commuters by instituting a period of surge pricing that saw fares rise to five times the regular rate.

At the risk of heaping on, state rep Michael Zalewski confirmed today that he filed paperwork on Monday to override Governor Quinn's veto of HB 4075, aka the Ridesharing Arrangements and Consumer Protection Act. If enacted, the bill would even the playing field between cabs and rideshare by requiring anyone driving for money to carry a chauffeur's license if they drive more than 18 hours a week, making the insurance requirements stricter, and mandating background checks for drivers.

The bill passed both chambers handily—80-26 in the house and 46-8 in the senate—so Zalewski says he was at least "a little" surprised when Quinn declined to sign the legislation into law. "My sense was there are very few things that twentysomethings pay attention to as a state issue," he says. "I understand from the sense that we all face election and it's hard to make these decisions close to an election."

He says the bill was even negotiated with Uber's lobbyists. But they continued to fight against it, and Quinn lost the gubernatorial race to a venture capitalist. Still, Zalewski thinks he can find enough votes to override the veto: 71 in the house and 36 in the senate. The bill received more support than that when it passed.

Zalewski says, "As much as we love Uber and Lyft, for being innovative, good services, we have a responsibility to protect our constituents' safety—these are common sense things that make sense in a state statute."

The vote to override the veto will come up either Wednesday or Thursday.

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