SPRINGFIELD - A plan in the Illinois legislature that's close to reaching the governor's desk for approval would devastate the ride-sharing industry in the state, companies including Uber, Lyft and Sidecar say.
The Illinois Senate passed a proposal Thursday that would place statewide regulations on an industry that connects passengers and drivers through a smartphone app. Its burgeoning popularity in the Chicago area and across the country is being opposed by traditional taxi company owners, who are concerned about losing drivers to to ride-sharing companies.
The legislation sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Tony Munoz of Chicago would create two tiers of regulation.
All drivers would need to pass background checks and have commercial liability insurance of at least $350,000. Drivers working more than 36 hours in a two-week period would need to follow stricter rules. Local municipalities could set rules for "surge pricing" -- which allows drivers to hike prices during high demand -- for rides dispatched through a smartphone app.
"The bill protects taxi special interests who are working to stifle competition and protect their monopoly," Uber wrote in a statement, adding that the proposal "damages consumer choice, safety, economic development, and the ability of municipalities to regulate transportation services."
Lyft and Sidecar representatives have made similar statements.
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The plan passed the Senate as two pieces of legislation. The second still needs approval from the House, which voted 80-26 last month to pass the first ride-sharing regulation measure. A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn said the administration hasn't taken a position yet.
The city of Chicago is still trying to pass its own ride-sharing ordinance.