Municipalities like Madison will be unable to set stricter regulations for ridesharing companies if Gov. Scott Walker signs a bill that the state Senate passed Tuesday.
The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote, setting statewide regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, such as conducting background checks on drivers. The Assembly had passed the bill last week on a 79-19 vote, so it now heads to Walker’s desk for his signature.
The bill does not allow local governments to set stricter restrictions, which has brought opposition to the proposal.
Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, said in a statement that ride-sharing apps are convenient for getting rides and it encourages people to not drink and drive.
“Many areas of my district aren’t served by cab companies or public transportation, and ride sharing will provide more transportation options for my constituents,” Lassa said. “Even beyond that, ride sharing apps represent an innovative use of technology that creates new opportunities for individuals to start their own businesses.”
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Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, said in a statement the bill improves safety and encourages the growth of “innovative businesses” in Wisconsin. He said other states will follow Wisconsin’s bill as a model.
Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said lawmakers should not be able to repeal local ordinances that regulate rideshare providers that have already passed, such as an ordinance that Milwaukee has on the books, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“If we have solved the problem, let it be,” Risser said. “Don’t unsolve the problem.”
The Senate also voted to end the 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases, following a weekend of four gun shootings in Madison. Under current law, anyone looking to purchase a handgun must wait two days for a background check from the state’s Department of Justice.
The bill allows people to get the handguns after they pass the background check, which can take only a couple of hours, rather than make them wait the 48 hours.
Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, said with updated technology, the waiting period for background checks takes less time than it did 40 years ago, according to the Cap Times. He said he had to drive an hour to purchase firearms.
“When I go purchase a firearm, it’s really inconvenient,” Wanggaard said. “It’s an expense to me … What about the people in the outer districts of the state of Wisconsin that have to travel hours?”
People opposed to the bill say keeping the waiting period increases safety.
Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said in a statement that the bill’s passage ignores the public safety and mental health needs of the state.
“Unfortunately, today we saw another clear example of Republicans in the state putting special interest groups before people and sound public policy,” Larson said. “Republicans passing this bill today is like eliminating stoplights, and pretending there won’t be more accidents.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly.