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EDITORIAL: Taxi cartel has fingerprints all over one of the legislative session’s worst proposals

Competition is fierce for the worst proposal of the 2017 legislative session. But Senate Bill 485 has to be among the favorites.

The bill is a cornucopia of provisions designed to burden ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. SB 485 has the fingerprints of the taxi cartel all over it. No individual lawmaker was willing to risk the inevitable embarrassment of being associated with the measure, so the bill received a committee introduction last week thanks to the folks on Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy.

Democrats on the panel include Kelvin Atkinson, Pat Spearman, Yvanna Cancela and Nicole Cannizzaro — good progressives, all.

Consider just one of the mandates laid out in the eight pages of SB 485. “Section 2 of this bill requires a passenger using the digital network or software application service of a transportation network company to specify the time at which the passenger wishes to receive transportation services,” the Legislative Counsel digest reveals, “and prohibits a request for transportation services which would commence within 15 minutes after the request is made.”

In other words, the proposal would force an Uber driver to wait 15 minutes before responding to a ride request, undermining one of the primary advantages that ride-sharing outfits have over traditional cab companies. Gee, who could have possibly come up with such a ham-handed restriction? What a joke.

On Wednesday, Mr. Atkinson tweeted that “after reading through all of SB 485 and discussing it with Majority Leader Aaron Ford, we have determined it is bad policy. Bill is DEAD!”

The obvious question is how it was ever given life in the first place.

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