AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate has voted to create statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies, potentially voiding a local Austin ordinance that caused Uber and Lyft to stop operating in the state capital.
Given final approval 20-10 on Wednesday, the bill brings ride-hailing companies under Texas regulatory control and imposes fees.
The bill previously cleared the House, which included tea party-backed language defining “sex” as the “physical condition of being male or female.” That’s a reference to the Legislature’s contentious “bathroom bill,” which is separate legislation regulating transgender Texans’ public restroom use.
The Senate preserved that language. Sponsoring Sen. Charles Schwertner, said, “it’s stating the obvious.”
Uber and Lyft left Austin last year, protesting an ordinance requiring drivers to be fingerprinted in background checks. The bill requires annual background checks, but not fingerprinting.