Americans for Tax Reform opposes H.R. 4686, Sami’s Law.
The bill is a federal intrusion into ridesharing and comes with heavy-handed mandates and enforcement mechanisms from Washington, including fines of up to $20,000 per day and future plans to force states to impose vehicle inspection requirements.
The bill creates the equivalent of a national taxi commission to impose regulations on Americans who provide and use ridesharing services. In addition to a raft of regulations imposed on ridesharing, the bill creates a 15-member council in the Department of Transportation to “develop and present best practices or recommendations … regarding performance standards the Secretary may adopt regarding any successor technology-based system.”
The language does not create clear limits on what kinds of best practices or recommendations this council may propose. As Casey Given of Young Voices has stated: “In plain English, the council will be proposing regulations. As we know too well in Washington, an entity whose existence depends on regulating is going to regulate. While the council technically has a potential sunset date after 12 years (a generous amount of time already), the Secretary of Transportation can will it into permanent existence with the stroke of a pen.”
Democrat administrations will stack the commission with heavy-handed central planners who will ensure states cannot compete with each other. Ridesharing emerged in the first place because Americans were desperate to get out from under the oppressive, innovation-stifling taxi commissions which propped up incumbent industry players who provided terrible service at excessive cost. The “Sami’s Law” bill will re-establish and recreate a taxi commission on a national scale. Not only will Democrats stack the commission with heavy-handed central planners, the bill also allows the commission to detail — at taxpayer expense — an unlimited quantity of bureaucrats from the Department of Transportation.
Democrats will use the commission to attack independent contractor drivers. As shown by their assault on independent contractors through California’s AB5 and the congressional PRO Act, Democrats are eager to force drivers into becoming [union-dues paying] employees. They will use the commission — under the guise of “safety” — to regulate independent contractors out of existence.
Once the bill is in place, Democrats will move to cut off highway funds for states which do not impose a vehicle inspection regime. Democrats have already written down their next step: force states to impose a vehicle inspection regime. If states fail to comply, Washington will cut off 2.5% of their highway funds. This provision was clearly spelled out in the version of the bill put forth by Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.) If given the full levers of power, Democrats will make the move.
The private sector has already developed ridesharing safety features. Ridesharing services have voluntarily and proactively developed a variety of safety features for riders and drivers.
Compliance costs will raise prices for consumers. Ridesharing is already thoroughly regulated by state and local governments. Washington should not be piling on unnecessary federal regulations, the cost of which will be borne by consumers in the form of higher prices as they go about their daily lives.