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Compromise reached between Onder and Wieland on Uber bill


New provisions likely clear way for ridesharing legislation to get to Greitens’ desk

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In a tweet Thursday morning, Sen. Paul Wieland announced he would now support Sen. Bob Onder’s Uber bill, a piece of legislation he blocked on the Senate floor due to specific but important inconsistencies within the legislation.

Onder said he now expects the bill, authored by Rep. Kirk Mathews in the House, to have time on the floor next week, and he sounds cautiously optimistic it will pass.

“I’m very optimistic,” he said. “ But you never know what is going to happen on the floor of the Missouri Senate and until it’s on the governor’s desk, I won’t rest.”

Wieland, who owns an insurance company, had concerns over how the insurance portion of the bill worked. Transportation network companies (TNCs), like Lyft and Uber, currently provide a $1 million insurance policy whenever one of their drivers has a paying passenger in the vehicle. However, Wieland feared drivers could let their personal insurance lapse if they believe that a TNC’s insurance extends beyond when a driver is on the clock.

He held up passage of the bill when it came up for debate before the legislative spring break, but now, Onder and Wieland say that concern has been solved with a new provision in the bill. TNC drivers will now have to add the TNC they work for as a “lost payee” to their personal insurance policy. If the driver’s personal policy were to lapse, the TNC get a letter from the insurance company telling the TNC that this policy no longer exists, due to their lost payee status.

The TNC would then be required to suspend the driver until they could prove they had proper personal insurance.

“I just wanted to make sure we protect the public and we keep the number of uninsured motorists to a minimum and I believe this bill will do that,” Wieland told The Missouri Times Thursday.

The other change was changing the length of absence from a TNC a driver would have to face given various driving violations. Wieland said under the older bill the punishment did not necessarily fit the crime.

“They weren’t in the right place,” Wieland said. “We rewrote that whole section and it all makes sense now. More serious things have a longer amount of time to wait before you’re on the platform and the less serious things have a shorter amount of time.”

“Sen. Wieland made some very productive contributions to that and we cleaned up and clarified what infractions ought to bar a TNC driver from the platform,” Onder added.

With those changes, the bill will have to go back to the House, but it received overwhelming bipartisan support in the body when it passed out of the chamber all the way back in January.