Bill to move up ride-sharing start date passes state Senate

Abbott's signature would open the door for Uber and Lyft to return to Austin.

"His staff made it a better bill", she said of the changes wrought since SB 14 passed.

"Our city should be proud of how we filled the gap created when Uber and Lyft left", he said in a statement, "and we now must hope that they return ready to compete in a way that reflects Austin's values".

Bill now goes to Gov. Senators approved the bill 21-9, with eight Democrats and one Republican opposed.

In an email to KUT, an Uber spokesperson said the company would return to Austin immediately if Abbott signs the bill.

"An environment that allows rideshare companies to operate across the state will help create more earning opportunities and improve mobility options in both big cities and rural areas in Texas".

The ride-hailing companies have argued in support of the legislation, saying the current system involving different laws in different cities and parishes is confusing to riders and drivers.

Meanwhile, Austin Mayor Steve Adler expressed disappointment with the passage of HB 100. "This bill is about protecting the safety of our constituents, as well as economic liberty".

The additional language on sex drew questions from Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio.

"I don't understand why, in a transportation bill, we have to have the definition of what that condition would be", he said.

State Reps. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, added the language, citing a need to clarify exactly who received protection from discrimination. In an impassioned floor speech, he said companies like Uber and Lyft were encouraging a race to the bottom with regard to the way they treat employees.

Under the new state rules, the companies would be licensed by the state, pay a $5,000 fee and agree to conduct a national background check, which they already do under their own internal policies. Houston city leaders have long maintained that fingerprint background checks are more accurate than internet-based background checks used by Uber and Lyft.

  • Zachary Reyes