CARSON CITY — A bill that would require Uber and Lyft drivers to show proof that they have state business licenses could bring millions of dollars a year in revenue to the state, a lawmaker said Thursday.
Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, said his Senate Bill 226 would ensure that the drivers, who work as independent contractors, obtain the licenses at a cost of $200 a year. With as many as 57,000 Nevadans driving for the companies, the revenue could reach $11 million, he told the Assembly Transportation Committee.
Atkinson’s bill would require drivers to submit verification that they have obtained the licenses to their companies. Failing to do so would result in the termination of any agreement to drive for the companies, he said.
Drivers would have six months to submit the verification, Atkinson said.
When the ride-sharing services were authorized by lawmakers in 2015 the companies committed to have drivers obtain the licenses, he said. While the companies notify the drivers of the requirement, no follow up is done to ensure the drivers do so.
“I believe that our ask in this bill is pretty cut and dried,” Atkinson said.
Some members of the committee were concerned about whether a six-month grace period would set a different standard for the drivers than for others required to obtain state business licenses.
But Assemblyman Justin Watkins, D-Las Vegas, said his understanding is that the licenses would be required when a driver starts working, but there would be time to show proof to the companies they work for that the document was properly obtained.
There is no information on how many drivers may have state business licenses and no identification is required of what business a person is doing when they obtain the license.
The bill has passed the Senate. The bill did not see immediate action in the Assembly committee.
Lobbyists representing Uber and Lyft said the companies are neutral on the bill.
Contact Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.