Nevada lawmakers send bill legalizing ridesharing to Gov. Sandoval
At 1:50 a.m. Saturday, the Assembly mustered a two-thirds majority and concurred with Senate amendments to A.B. 175, known colloquially as the “Uber bill.” The measure now moves along to the desk of Gov. Brian Sandoval. Effective upon his signature, the law will legalize transportation networking companies in a state where they hitherto had been banned.
The bill’s approval comes after a turbulent journey through the Legislature. At times, it appeared that no measure would be passed. The original legislative vehicles created to carry TNC-enabling legislation died late in the session, typically a sign that no agreement could be achieved.
Then, in early April, the Assembly passed a nominally related bill pertaining to the use of seatbelts by passengers in taxis. Upon arrival in the Senate, language from the failed TNC-legalization vehicles was added to A.B. 175 transforming it into a late-session priority measure.
After a false start, the Senate passed A.B. 175 back to the Assembly to gain its concurrence. Unfortunately, to secure Senate approval of A.B. 175 it was necessary for proponents to accede to the inclusion of a 3 percent tax on all TNC trips. That tax triggered controversy among fiscal conservatives in the Assembly, which threw the bill’s future into doubt.
Ultimately, though reluctant to support the bill because of the tax on TNC activity, Assembly members realized that sinking a deal to make TNC activity legal, and losing out on the attendant employment and market activity, was a worse outcome.
Gov. Sandoval is expected to sing the bill soon, at which point, TNCs will be allowed to register with their new regulator, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, for operating certificates.
At R Street, we believe that the perfect should never be the enemy of the good. We congratulate Nevada’s lawmakers on finding their way to a workable, though imperfect, path to legalizing ridesharing.