JEFFERSON CITY - Cities would be banned from regulating ride-sharing companies like Uber under a bill filed by a legislator from a town that has approved such regulations.
The bill -- filed by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia -- would impose statewide standards for ride-sharing companies. Schaefer said his bill is not intended to limit Uber, but to make sure it doesn't get shut out of the state of Missouri.
"The City of Columbia has put restrictions on them that basically destroy their business model," Schaefer said. "We're seeing other cities that basically are passing local ordinances to try and keep Uber from operating in the state of Missouri."
The Columbia City Council passed a set of regulations on Monday which require Uber to meet many of the same requirements as taxi cab companies. However, Schaefer said Uber is a technology company not a taxi cab company. Schaeffer also said that unlike taxi cab companies which are locally or regionally based, Uber is national.
"You can't have Balkanization where every 10 miles you're in a different municipality with a different regulation," Schaefer said. "It needs to be regulated at the state level."
Columbia Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she's tired of the state and federal government trying to take local control away from city governments.
"I don't certainly want to center more overarching power within the state or the federal government," Nauser said. "I mean these cars are driving on our streets. It's no different than any other business licensing requirement we do with any other business in our community."
In addition, Nauser said that Uber and taxi cab companies might be operating under different business models, but they provide the same services and the same standards should apply to both.
"I don't know where or why there seems to be an issue with requiring some of the exact same things that are required of our taxi drivers which is insurance, background checks, vehicle inspections, and a chauffuer's license," Nauser said. "I don't know how that could certainly impede upon Uber or any taxi cab company for that matter."
Schaefer's bill would impose a number of requirements on the commercial ride-sharing companies, including:
Schaefer's bill has been referred to the state Senate's Commerce Committee.