TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After years of debate about the issue, the Florida Senate on Wednesday quickly passed a bill that would create statewide regulations for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft.
The Senate voted 36-1 to approve the bill (HB 221), which already passed the House and now goes to Gov. Rick Scott. Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, cast the only dissenting vote.
Companies such as Uber and Lyft heavily supported the bill, which would prevent varying local regulations across the state on the fast-growing "transportation network company" industry.
Local governments and the taxicab industry, which often is regulated locally, have long opposed a statewide regulatory framework for ridesharing companies. But the bill easily moved through the Legislature this year and drew virtually no discussion on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Uber, Lyft and major business groups issued statements praising passage of the bill and urging Scott to sign it.
"Florida lawmakers voted today to remove the roadblock constructed by years of entrenched interests and ensure residents and visitors alike have choices when it comes to transportation," Brewster Bevis, a senior vice president of Associated Industries of Florida, said in a prepared statement.