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Ridesharing bill headed to House floor

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A controversial proposal that would set statewide regulations for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft is ready to go to the full House after the annual legislative session starts March 7.

On Tuesday, the House Government Accountability Committee, in a 21-1 vote, supported the measure (HB 221), which would create statewide rules for "transportation network companies" and set insurance and background-check requirements for drivers.

The proposal has drawn opposition from the Florida League of Cities and taxicab companies that typically face local regulations.

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee previously voted 14-1 to support the measure.

Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens, voted against the measure in both committees, expressing a need for parity between app-based services and taxi companies.

Similar bills have received support in the past from the House, but the Senate has not gone along.

A Senate proposal (SB 340) filed for the 2017 session has not been heard in committees. But rideshare providers are optimistic, as the Senate has 20 new members this year, with many of them former House members who have previously supported rideshare legislation.