More than 65,000 people in Austin, led by local community organizations Austin Music People, ATX Safer Streets and The Old Austin Neighborhood Association, took action to protest regulations on Uber and Lyft put forth by Mayor Steve Adler and the Austin City Council.
The outrage comes from the requirement (section E1 under “Driver Eligibility”) for all drivers to register their fingerprints with the city. The city is then “authorized to submit the fingerprints to the DPS [Department of Public Safety] for a search of the State’s criminal history record, and the DPS is authorized to forward a set of the fingerprints to the FBI for a national criminal history check.” Uber and Lyft decided that was too much government overreach into their business and vowed to leave the city once the rules took effect.
Wanting to keep their favorite means of transportation, the petitioners surpassed the 20,000 signature mark needed by law to force Austin City Council to review the regulations. The council is now faced with two options: adopt the new ordinance submitted by “Ridesharing works for Austin”, or put it on the ballot for a vote on May 7.
The new ordinance submitted by Ridesharing Works for Austin includes a section under Driver Eligibility that states “Nothing in this section shall require or be construed to require fingerprinting as part of any criminal history search.”
Seeing as the 65,103 signatures is more votes than any mayor in the history of Austin has received, the people have clearly delivered their message.
Mayor Adler and The Austin City Council have until February 1 before their regulation takes effect.