When Uber and Lyft ceased operating in Austin after a controversial vote over a city requirement that drivers be fingerprinted, the hot takes were brief, panic over the lack of availability of services that had been in the city for two years quickly transitioning to relative calm with the influx of new ride-sharing/hailing businesses of many different models.
That quiet will probably be shattered next spring, when, according to the Austin Monitor’s Caleb Pritchard, when several state lawmakers plan to take up the ridesharing issue during the upcoming legislative session.
Pritchard reported that City Council Member Laura Morrison addressed the probable legislative action at a recent fundraising meeting/party for the Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice PAC—formed to oppose the Uber/Lyft-sponsored PAC Ridesharing Works for Austin PAC, which spent $10 million pushing for a proposal that ultimately was defeated by 10 points. According to Pritchard, Morrison stated that the PAC still had some bills to pay, but was also looking to raise money for future battles.
In addition, Pritchard reported that “several Republican state lawmakers have vowed to make Austin’s election an issue in the upcoming legislative session,” and that Dallas’ Rep. Jason Villalba and Sen. Don Huffines have stated their interest in a “statewide regulatory framework that would overturn Austin’s laws.”
Morrison acknowledged that a legislative fight would involve actions and strategies very different from the ones that were used in the city fight, but Pritchard noted that the presence of several locally influential and experienced figures at the gathering—including Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea and political consultant David Butts —might help navigate that transition.
• Victorious Prop 1 PAC prepares for next battle [Austin Monitor]