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California politics archives from April

Welcome to our archived feed of Essential Politics from April. We covered the California Republican Party convention here.

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California bill seeking to limit surge pricing by Uber and Lyft dies

Shown is a row of Lyft cars in Pennsylvania. (Connor Mulvaney / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Shown is a row of Lyft cars in Pennsylvania. (Connor Mulvaney / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

An effort by a state senator to regulate surge pricing by Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies failed in a Senate committee Tuesday.

State Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) said that his bill, which would also have beefed up background checks on ride-sharing drivers and increased enforcement of ride-sharing rules, would protect drivers and consumers from predatory pricing and potential harm. He predicted tragedies would occur without more rules.

“The blood is going to be on our hands,” Hueso said.

His argument didn’t sway his colleagues. Multiple members of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing said lawmakers should loosen regulations on the taxi industry rather than increase them on ride-sharing companies.

“We need to help the taxis out rather than doubling down on an increasingly broken strategy,” said Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), who was one of four Democrats to abstain from voting on the bill.

Hueso, who has deep family ties in the taxi industry, is one of the largest thorns in the side of ride-sharing companies at the Capitol. He chairs the Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and has used his power there to delay two widely supported bills to ease ride-sharing regulations on carpooling and license plate rules. He was able to usher his own ride-sharing bill quickly through his own committee before it died Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the ride-sharing industry has kicked up its influence at the Capitol with Uber alone spending millions in lobbying over the last few years. 

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FOR THE RECORD

This article originally misstated the number of Democrats who abstained from voting on the bill.

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