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We’re driving in circles. That is to say, we started and ended the week talking about rideshares.
On Monday, an Assembly committee was set to discuss AB 1360, a bill that would allow rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber to charge individual fees to people sharing a car to a destination.
Colin Parent, policy counsel for Circulate San Diego, wrote an op-ed for us talking up the bill:
The advent of ridesharing has revolutionized the way we move across our cities. … This innovation is a game-changer in the effort to reduce air emissions and traffic congestion. AB 1360 would modernize state law written in the 1960s to encourage future carpooling innovations.
But the bill never got its hearing, and the Sacramento Bee thinks a San Diego legislator might be to blame:
The taxicab industry has consistently called for more regulation of their upstart competitors, arguing they should be held to higher professional standards, and several taxi organizations opposed AB 1360. Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, who chairs the committee that withheld a vote on AB 1360, worked in the industry for years and his brothers owned a cab company. Doherty argued that Hueso has been guided by “what he perceives as good for the taxi industry.”
In past interviews Hueso has said his experience situates him well to deal with regulations affecting the taxi industry. His actions on taxi-related bills do not violate any conflict-of-interest laws. “It’s important not to piecemeal but instead take a comprehensive view of the industry that takes into consideration consumer protections, passenger and road safety,” Hueso said in a statement.
Then on Wednesday came another blow to Uber, delivered by the California Public Utilities Commission, which polices rideshare companies.
Quartz has the clearest explanation I’ve seen on the ruling:
Under a law passed in 2013, Uber is required to provide the commission with information about accessibility, driver safety, and service. The agency said Uber refused to report the cause of accidents involving its drivers, the number of customers who requested accessible vehicles, the number of rides requested and accepted in the zip codes it operates in, the number of rides that were not accepted, and the amount paid to drivers.
The commission, which also oversees Lyft and Sidecar, said Uber was the only ride-hailing company to miss the September 2014 deadline to provide the data it was asked for.
The development enraged GOP lawmakers in Sacramento.
Assembly Republican leader Kristin Olsen, who’s been a vocal backer of rideshare companies and other leaders in the sharing economy, put out a scathing statement:
“Democrat leaders have created a toxic climate for new jobs and workers and have successfully turned the American Dream into the California Nightmare.
“I call on my colleagues to stop this assault on the sharing economy and support the thousands of Californians who find work, mobility, and cost-savings through these new California-based tools. The new economy is not a fad. The PUC should get with it.”
The Legislature is back in action Aug. 17.
Speaker Toni Atkins was on hand in downtown San Diego Friday to unfurl a rainbow flag from the top of the state government building, kicking off Pride events.
Tweet Soup, Feat. the Sacramento Press Corps
Commending an author on the work they’ve done on the bill is like saying “no offense” – you know something bad is coming next
— Jeremy B. White (@CapitolAlert) July 16, 2015
Emotional moment in Asm Public Safety as rape victim shares excruciating detail of her assault. Leaves chair @AsmBillQuirk speechless
— Melanie Mason (@melmason) July 14, 2015
You’re Welcome, Beer Bros
The only thing more California than a bill allowing craft beer sales at farmers markets – like the one signed last year – is a bill allowing craft beer tastings at farmers markets. Gov. Jerry Brown signed that into law this week. You can also taste wine at farmers markets, per a different bill signed last year. California lawmakers know their audience, it seems.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a whole slew of bills this week. There are the ones from local lawmakers that are now on the books:
• Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s bill extending workplace protections to professional cheerleaders
• Assemblyman Brian Maienschein’s bill making it easier for veterans to access their military records
• Sen. Marty Block’s bill clarifying the rules on school and government bonds. The bill “secure(s) these general obligation bonds with a statutory lien on the taxes collected for their payment,” according to Block’s office
Golden State News
• State lawmakers want to allow undocumented immigrants to buy health insurance plans under Obamacare. The new budget signed late last month already grants access to Medi-Cal to undocumented children. But the new plan being considered would need federal approval. (Politico)
• Kamala Harris announced she raised $4.1 million for her Senate campaign.
• A group called Privacy for All is working to put a repeal of the 2013 law allowing transgender public school students to use bathrooms of their choosing on the 2016 ballot. (Sacramento Bee)
• Bloomberg Politics previews Gov. Jerry Brown’s upcoming trip to the Vatican, where climate change will be the topic du juor.
• Maybe this will help us get over any remaining aversion to recycled wastewater? “Nearly one-fifth of the raw groundwater used for public drinking water systems in California contains excessive levels of potentially toxic contaminants, according to a decade-long U.S. Geological Survey study.” (Associated Press)
• Private investors are suddenly really interested in funding California’s bullet train project. (Contra Costa Times)