You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Uber cheers bill, but debate over ride-sharing regs continues

Legislation regulating Uber and other ride-sharing networks is on its way to the governor, but the debate might not be entirely over.

Taxi driver Jennifer Condie in West Palm Beach expressed concerns the bill does not totally resolve issues such as whether and when personal insurance policies cover ride-sharing drivers.

“Gov. Rick Scott is the last hope for Uber drivers,” Condie said. “Both the House and Senate missed the off-duty insurance gap. A personal auto policy does not magically switch on when you log off your Uber app. We hope the Governor will send the TNC bill back to the Senate and amend it to mandate if the driver’s personal auto policy refuses to cover off duty crash claims the TNC Company will provide contingent insurance of 10/20/10 from the time the driver logs off the app until he logs back on. In the absense of this mandate Uber drivers still have no choice but to continue to lie to their insurance company. ”

Standard auto policies often exclude “livery” or for-hire service.

Steering out of a years-long traffic jam, however, the bill to avoid a patchwork of local regulations for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft passed with relative ease Wednesday.

“This is the transportation network bill we’ve been debating for the last four years,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg — and that was the extent of debate and discussion on the final vote.

The Senate adopted and passed the House version, HB 221, by a 36-1 vote. It now goes to Scott, who is expected to sign it.

Ride-sharing companies and their allies cheered passage.

“Today’s passage of meaningful ride-sharing legislation is a victory for the business community and a strong signal to innovative companies that they are welcome in Florida,” said David Hart, executive vice president for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Consistent statewide rules should help in a state expected to add residents and visitors in years ahead, supporters said. Florida Chamber Foundation research figures that by 2030, Florida’s population will grow to about 26 million, up by 6 million, and the state could see 160 million annual visitors by 2025.

The bill largely codifies what companies like Uber already do to check driver backgrounds and offer insurance coverage, which includes up to $1 million in liability coverage once a driver picks up a passenger but lower protection or reliance on a driver’s personal policy at other stages.

Taxi and limo companies had earlier raised concerns about an uneven playing field with different standards applying to their industry, and local governments had remained wary of giving up control in a bill that mostly pre-empts their oversight.

The bill does not prohibit an airport from charging reasonable pickup fees consistent with those charged to taxicab companies, a House staff analysis notes.

Uber officials hailed the vote, citing more than 40,000 Florida entrepreneurs actively driving with Uber and more than 1.5 million people in the state using its services.

“The most exciting opportunities are yet to come, as millions of Florida residents and visitors, from Pensacola to Key West, will have permanent access to Uber,” said Uber public affairs director Colin Tooze.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

NEW: Season’s over, time for steals on Gucci, Chanel, Prada labels
NEW: Season’s over, time for steals on Gucci, Chanel, Prada labels

Before they head north for the summer, Palm Beach’s snowbirds clean their closets — pulling out the past season’s often lightly used clothing and dropping them off at nearby thrift stores and consignment shops. The annual purge is happening now, leaving some area stores flush with designer and couture items that are gently used, or...
Newsmakers: People in Palm Beach County business, non-profits
Newsmakers: People in Palm Beach County business, non-profits

ARTS AND CULTURE Roger Ward has been named President and CEO for the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. He returns to the Palm Beaches where he previously served as chief curator and deputy director at the Norton Museum of Art from 2001 to 2011. In his new role, Ward will report directly to the board of trustees and has general oversight of and responsibility...
Rules cannot conflict with declaration of covenants

Question: Our HOA board of directors has allowed the architectural committee to implement its own rules that conflict with the declaration of covenants. Can the board write rules and regulations for the HOA without homeowner approval? The board has told the homeowners this can be done. Signed. J.C. Answer: Almost always, governing documents allow the...
NEW: Miami to Glades U.S. 27 rail, road project back on the table
NEW: Miami to Glades U.S. 27 rail, road project back on the table

Tired of sitting in traffic as a 200-car freight train rolls by? A project aimed at helping to solve that problem, as well congestion at South Florida’s ports and other issues, by utilizing the U.S. 27 corridor from Miami to western Palm Beach County is being revived. It proposes constructing a new railway line and expanding U.S. 27 to six lanes...
NEW: GEO Group shares can thank Trump effect on stock market
NEW: GEO Group shares can thank Trump effect on stock market

Reviews of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office are mixed, but there’s no debating this fact: Shares of GEO Group have been on a tear since Trump was inaugurated Jan. 20. Investors are betting on Trump to make good on his promise of an immigration crackdown. Boca Raton-based GEO Group, a private prison operator that runs detention...
More Stories