Statewide ridesharing rules on the table in Louisiana

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Louisiana may soon join the more than 40 states that have adopted some kind of statewide ridesharing rules, under legislation that would pre-empt parish and local governments from setting regulations and taxes on transportation network companies.

Sponsored by state House Transportation Committee Chairman Kenny Havard, R-St. Francisville, H.B. 527 would require TNCs to register with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and to charge a “local assessment fee” equal to 1 percent of each “gross trip fare.” The 1 percent fee would be sent to local governments from whence rides originated, and part also would be collected by the state to administer the permitting process.

TNCs would be required, through their apps, to display the driver’s picture and license plate before the passenger enters the vehicle. The TNC would also be required to transmit an electronic receipt of the trip.

The legislation also imposes minimum requirements for drivers. The state would ban from working as TNC drivers all sex offenders, felons for up to seven years after their conviction and those convicted of an offense involving drugs or alcohol. The legislation also requires TNCs to adhere to all state anti-discrimination laws and laws providing for the transport of service animals. The law bans drivers from using drugs or alcohol while on duty and requires TNCs to post the policy on their website and provide a means for reporting violations.

In exchange for these requirements, the state would bar local governments and other authorities (including airports) from imposing their own requirements or imposing additional fees. Airports would be permitted to impose only those fees that taxi drivers already pay. Finally, the statute would clarify that TNCs are not taxi operators and are not bound by the taxis code of regulations.

Understandably, the proposal isn’t being received kindly by some in local government:

New Orleans Councilwoman Susan Guidry, who authored the city’s ordinance regulating ride-hailing services, said just a quick overview of the proposed law showed it fell short of the city’s ordinance in a number of ways. It has fewer insurance requirements, less stringent background checks, does not require random drug tests or drug tests after crashes and does not prohibit surge pricing in emergencies.

The proposed state law also does not include prohibitions on discrimination in pick-ups and drop-offs and would not require the ride-hailing services to provide data that could be used to verify whether such discrimination is occurring, something that is including in the city ordinance.

“Why would you create a law that was less protective when they have already agreed to operate under our city’s law which is more protective?” Guidry asked.

Of course, ridesharing companies already operate under a patchwork of rules and regulations. For example, three of the largest parishes in the metro New Orleans area—Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany—each has its own ridesharing ordinance, which differ from one another in details. Theoretically, it is possible to drive through all three parishes within an hour, depending on traffic. It doesn’t make sense literally to have to navigate that maze of regulatory regimes over such a short distance.

The Legislature should unleash the potential of the sharing economy statewide. It’s good for consumers and provides new opportunities for drivers to make ends meet.


Image by Ionut Catalin Parvu

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  • yellowroselady1

    According to the NCMEC map there are over 859,500 men, women and children (as young as 8 and 10 in some states) required to register and the “crimes” range from urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, viewing abusive OR suggestive images of anyone 18 years old or younger, playing doctor, prostitution, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child, the old bate-n-switch internet stings (taking sometimes 12 months before a person steps over the line) and many others.

    If you multiply the number on the registry by 2 or 3 family members you can clearly see there are well over 2 million wives, children, moms, aunts, girlfriends, grandmothers and other family members who experience the collateral damage of being murdered, harassed, threatened, children beaten, have signs placed in their yards, homes set on fire, vehicles damaged, asked to leave their churches and other organizations, children passed over for educational opportunities, have flyers distributed around their neighborhood, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant….all these things occur when these people try to hold their family together and provide the three things that professionals state are needed for successful re-integration; a job, a place to live and a good support system. Residency restrictions, ranging from 500 ft to 2,500 ft are ludicrous and not supported by ATSA.

    The Supreme Court’s Crucial Mistake About Sex Crime Statistics – ‘Frightening and High’ (must read)
    It is very important that you read the abstract below and then the full 12 page essay by Ira Mark and Tara Ellman.
    ABSTRACT This brief essay reveals that the sources relied upon by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Doe, a heavily cited constitutional decision on sex offender registries, in fact provide no support at all for the facts about sex offender re-offense rates that the Court treats as central to its constitutional conclusions. This misreading of the social science was abetted in part by the Solicitor General’s misrepresentations in the amicus brief it filed in this case. The false “facts” stated in the opinion have since been relied upon repeatedly by other courts in their own constitutional decisions, thus infecting an entire field of law as well as policy making by legislative bodies. Recent decisions by the Pennsylvania and California supreme courts establish principles that would support major judicial reforms of sex offender registries, if they were applied to the actual facts. This paper appeared in Constitutional Commentary Fall, 2015.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=2616429

    A study reviewing sex crimes as reported to police revealed that:
    a) 93% of child sexual abuse victims knew their abuser;
    b) 34.2% were family members;
    c) 58.7% were acquaintances;
    d) Only 7% of the perpetrators of child victims were strangers;
    e) 40% of sexual assaults take place in the victims own home;
    f) 20% take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative (Jill Levenson, PhD, Lynn University)

    The public needs to decide if they want to continue to focus on those who, for the most part, are one time offenders or if they see a greater need to fund programs like “Stop It Now” that teaches about grooming behaviors and other things in their Circles of Safety.

    Women Against Registry ~ Fighting the Destruction of Families

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