One of the consequences of the Florida House of Representatives’ decision last week to commence an abrupt sine die adjournment, rather than play out an intractable battle with the state Senate over the budget and whether to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, is that legislation that would have established clear and reasonable rules for ridesharing in the Sunshine State was left to die.

But there may yet be hope, according to the SaintPetersBlog. Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, tells the site that he expects legislation to address transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft will be on the docket when the Legislature reconvenes June 1 for a special session, which primarily will be devoted to passing the constitutionally mandated balanced budget.

“I won’t count out Uber for the special session,” said St. Petersburg state Sen. Jeff Brandes, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. “I think you’re going to see transportation-related proposals included in the call for special session.”

Better still, Brandes made clear that he believes the law should establish one clear and consistent coverage standard for TNC and taxi drivers alike — the previous Senate bill set coverage limits for TNCs that were higher than those required of taxis — and would rather see a standard that treats TNC drivers who haven’t “matched” with a driver just as it would any other driver on the road.

“To me you should have the same amount of insurance if you don’t have a passenger in the car, whether you’re delivering pizza or packages or you’re on the Uber app waiting to pick up a passenger,” he says. “There should be one level of coverage for that, but if you have a passenger in the car, there should be a different level of coverage.”

Brandes believes that Uber and Lyft drivers need to pay the same amount of insurance as would taxi cab operators. “My concerns with this bill is that we’re kind of treating taxi-cab passengers as second-class citizens when it comes to insurance coverage under his legislation,” he says.

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