When Uber heard that Kansas City, MO would be implementing an ordinance requiring federal background checks, the company announced on its blog that it would not be able to operate in the city. After its announcement, Uber began discussions with state officials in both Missouri and Kansas.
It can get confusing trying to keep track of the status of TNCs between the two states that share Kansas City , so here’s a breakdown:
- St. Louis, MO: There is a temporary restraining order against TNCs in effect until August 2015.
- Kansas City, MO Ordinance No. 150203: Uber is licensed in the city, however the ordinance requires drivers and TNCs to pay licensing fees and requires fingerprint background checks.
- State of Missouri Senate Bill 351: Would eliminate the ability of cities to set their own TNC laws and allow TNCs to conduct their own third-party background checks.
- State of Kansas Senate Bill 117: Would require fingerprint background checks.
In a blog post, Uber stated:
“SB117 was originally drafted to create a smart regulatory framework for ridesharing services like uberX – and it had our full support. However, in the final hours before the House of Representatives voted on the bill, a small number of bank executives succeeded in adding a poison pill amendment that would prevent Uber from operating in the state.
If SB 117 becomes law, it will force Uber to cease all operations throughout KS.”
Uber has been known to give cities this same ultimatum and in the case of the state of Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback subsequently vetoed the bill. Fortunately, the Chairman of the Kansas Legislature Committee on Insurance, Scott Schwab, is now seeking to override the veto as soon as early May.
Uber will likely continue to take its issues to the state level in hopes of superseding cities that create laws it considers “onerous.”