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Uber rallies support to let it operate legally in Nevada

Uber is making another run at providing its ride-sharing service in Nevada, drumming up support with a news conference Wednesday in anticipation of state legislation that would allow it to operate legally.

Executives of the San Francisco-based company that operated for 34 days in October and November before shutting itself down after losing a Washoe County court case are scheduled to appear at an event at Lake Las Vegas sponsored by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning.

Henderson officials say they are among many communities underserved by traditional methods of transportation and they are “calling for the choice and competition that Uber brings.”

Uber officials, backed by at least 11 lobbyists working for the company in Carson City during the legislative session, have been anticipating the introduction of legislation that, if approved, would enable the company to operate once again in the state.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, is expected to be a key player in introducing a bill that would regulate companies that deliver products, including packages, groceries and medical prescriptions. The bill also would carve a niche for transportation network companies that offer prearranged transportation services using online-enabled applications.

Interviewed earlier this month, Settlemeyer said he is awaiting a bill draft request to be completed by the Legislative Counsel Bureau. He said he expects it would be assigned to the Senate committee he chairs, the Commerce, Labor and Energy committee, but there are indications it may go to the Transportation committee.

Any legislation enabling Uber to operate would face heavy opposition from the state’s strong taxicab and limousine industry.

Local taxi companies are on the verge of introducing their own smartphone app, called Ride Genie, that would work similarly to Uber’s technology.

This is a developing news story. Check back here for updates.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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