The Republican-dominated Kansas legislature gave an overwhelming thumbs-down to Uber, the ride-hailing company out of California. The majority in control also showed its strong opposition to Governor Sam Brownback’s decision to veto the transportation bill that would have imposed new rules, such as requiring drivers of these types of companies to undergo Kansas Bureau of Investigation background checks and to carry expanded auto insurance beyond what they have through Uber.
Upon hearing the news, Uber put the word out that, effective immediately; the company was shutting down service as it could no longer operate in the Sunflower State. Uber had strongly opposed the regulations, had vigorously campaigned for the veto, and then had pushed for the Legislature to uphold it. But, that would not be the case, because passenger safety has long been a bone of contention with many of those less than enthusiastic opponents of the ride-hailing companies.
Although, the proposed requirements within the bill were not considered by legislators to be overly demanding by their own standards, Uber seemed to feel that forcing its drivers to complete strong background checks and to carry additional auto insurance coverage would greatly impede their service expansion in other Kansas cities, like Lawrence, Leavenworth, Manhattan and Topeka. And, the override of the governor’s veto was an apparent rebuke to Uber’s strong-armed tactics of flooding legislators’ email systems with words of support from its drivers and others in Kansas.
According to the Associated Press, the San Francisco-based company previously emailed Kansas residents to point out that the bill would force the company to leave the state, affecting the some 800 drivers in 10 cities and putting an end to possible expansion. Unfortunately, Uber’s approach may have actually worked against it.
Ironically, in April, Governor Brownback had expressed his belief that Kansas should be known as a state that embraces economic growth and innovation, which would bring opportunity to many Kansas families and lead to job creation in the new industry of ride-hailing services. However, Kansas lawmakers seemingly decided that the jobs brought to Kansas by Uber weren’t enough to entice them to ignore Brownback’s veto.
Furthermore, the governor’s original veto action instantly drew the ire of some and the heated and scornful comments from other fellow Republicans wishing to speak out. They claim the governor was far too willing to ignore the gap in Uber’s insurance coverage because he rather pander to the $44 billion San Francisco company.
So the law, which requires strong background checks for drivers among other things, will stand. And, unless Uber has a complete reversal in thinking and opts to adhere to the new demands by Kansas lawmakers, the company’s future could be at risk in other states where legislation is proposed to include the same stringent requirements in order to protect passengers and operate per those states’ guidelines.
For now – anyone using Uber’s App will be greeted by a message that essentially points to the vote to override Governor Brownback’s veto of SB 117 for the loss of hundreds of jobs, safe rides, and an optional transportation choice for Kansas consumers…rather than its refusal to comply with the proposed legislative requirements.
When it comes to your own auto insurance, you don’t have to put it up for a vote. Finding cheap auto insurance is easier than you think. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?
Do you think Uber would have been better off complying with the new Kansas state requirements to operate? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.