Following two separate reports of sexual assaults involving Uber drivers last weekend, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin Wednesday urged Gov. Scott Walker to veto a bill that allows rideshare companies to operate legally statewide.
Soglin, along with Dane County Democratic lawmakers, pushed for Walker to veto the bill after the sexual assault reports. The bill, which sets statewide regulations for rideshare companies, is currently awaiting Walker’s signature after the Legislature approved it last week.
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At a news conference Tuesday, Soglin noted incidents with Uber drivers are not uncommon in other communities, specifically citing one particular case in which a woman in India sued an Uber driver for rape.
“Do the right thing,” Soglin asked Walker.
Democrats from Dane County also sent an open letter to Walker asking him to veto the bill, claiming it would allow rideshare companies to operate in Wisconsin with little state oversight and no city input.
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Uber spokesperson Lauren Altmin said in a statement after the first report that the company does not condone the driver’s actions.
“This behavior is not tolerated on the Uber platform,” she said. “The driver in question was immediately deactivated from the platform the moment we learned of the alleged incident.”
Altmin said Uber will continue to work with authorities throughout the investigation.
It is unclear whether the two reports are connected or whether the same driver is involved.
Soglin blamed Uber regulations for lack of information on the incidents, noting if these events involved city regulations, police would have all the information they need in order to speak with persons of interest.
Uber has “stonewalled” the city by not granting them access to driver information without a search warrant or subpoena, which he noted the city is currently working on obtaining, Soglin said.
“Once we get the proper court orders I have no doubt that Uber will comply,” he said. “One of the things they have agreed to do over the years is obey judges.”
The city has repeatedly asked state legislators to put in a clause in rideshare bills which would force companies to provide all driver information to police, Soglin said. But he said that request was rejected.