Uber battle erupting in legislature over car app

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Uber is a smartphone app where you can request a driver, name your price and then rate that driver based on their service.

It's used in practically every major city in the country, including Jacksonville, but that's the only Florida city.

A heavily debated bill in the Florida legislature would lower restrictions on digital transportation services like Uber, allowing it to expand in the state.

Supporters of the chauffeured limousines bill did not hold back excitement after it passed in a House committee Friday.

Justin Kintz works for Uber Technologies.

"We're gratified that the committee saw that this opportunity was real," Kintz said.

"We're in Jacksonville, which is great for us in Florida, but there's three other major municipalities and lots of other municipalities that Uber would love to be in."

Dozens of people stood up in support and opposition of it.

"These folks lost in Tampa and lost in Miami, succeeded in Jacksonville and decided to take their marbles and run to Tallahassee and have big brother superimpose from Tallahassee down to local governments," said Ron Book, a popular lobbyist against the bill.

House members against it say this should remain a local issue, not a state issue.

"I think each city is a different situation. That's what I kind of pointed out in committee," said Rep. Mark Danish, a Democrat representing Tampa.

Representative James Grant, a Republican from Tampa, is the bill's sponsor.

"It's simply about economic opportunity. It's simply about free markets and it's simply about drivers wanting a chance," he says.

The bill would prevent counties from requiring companies to have a minimum wait time, a minimum fare or permits issued to operate.


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