Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a bill that will regulate Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies throughout the state.
The law addresses insurance coverage, fares and receipts and the application process for new drivers.
The law “recognizes the driver as a transportation network company driver,” before and during the ride, for insurance purposes. The law also requires the companies to “disclose fare calculation methods” on their digital networks.
When it comes to Ohioans interested in becoming Lyft or Uber drivers, the law regulates the application process.
It requires a “multi-state/multi-jurisdictional criminal records database” check, including a search of the national sex offender public registry.
Several Uber drivers in Cleveland told newnet5.com that they support the regulated background checks.
“It’s reasonable,” driver Rick Jenkins said. “We drive women around, we drive children around. You want to know at least on paper who that person is as their record might reflect.”
Transportation network drivers must be 19 years or older and cannot have pleaded guilty or been convicted of a serious vehicle-related offense in the last 13 years.
The new law also has a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol abuse on the job.
Drivers were already subjected to a similar application and background check process, but now it’s regulated by the state.
A spokesperson for Uber told newnet5.com the company is pleased with the law:
Yesterday, Governor Kasich took action for Ohio to join the more than two dozen states that have embraced the innovation of ridesharing by signing HB 237.
We extend our deepest gratitude to the many legislators - especially Senator Faber, Senator LaRose, Representative Hackett, Representative Duffey and Speaker Rosenberger - who championed this issue and most importantly, to the thousands of riders and drivers who have supported Uber Ohio over the years.
Since our launch in Columbus in 2013, we have been committed to providing additional options to riders and flexible earning opportunities for drivers across the state - and we look forward to continuing to do so for years to come.
A Lyft spokesperson also submitted a statement to newsnet5.com:
By creating a common-sense regulatory framework for ridesharing that prioritizes public safety and consumer choice, Governor Kasich has stepped up as leader in welcoming innovative, community-powered transportation options for the people of Ohio. We’re excited for Ohio to join many states across the country, including Arizona, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee and Utah, who have passed successful legislation allowing ridesharing to thrive. We also applaud Senator LaRose and Representative Hackett for their work and commitment to expanding affordable, reliable transportation options like Lyft across the state.
Per Ohio's constitution, the legislation will take effect in March of 2016.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed 14 bills into law, including legislation to expand access to treatment for certain sexually transmitted diseases and a measure to create one set of statewide regulations for ride-sharing services.
Also signed on Tuesday was a so-called "ban the box" bill that would bar a public employer from including on employment application forms questions concerning an applicant's criminal background.
The STD-related legislation would let doctors prescribe medication to their patients' partners without first examining them. Currently, they must first examine patients before prescribing them antibiotics. The measure would create an exception for partners of patients who have been diagnosed with chlamydia, trichomoniasis or gonorrhea.