New state law negates Milwaukee ridesharing ordinance

Wisconsin's new law negates Milwaukee's ride-sharing ordinance.  Governor Scott Walker signed the law May 1.  It makes a unified, statewide law about ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft.  

The law doesn't let local governments control ride-sharing companies. Companies like Uber and Lyft will register or be licensed by the state now. The companies will conduct background checks, vehicle checks, and be required to have liability insurance coverage. It doesn't let a city - like Milwaukee - regulate ridesharing - as Milwaukee has been doing.

Milwaukee stopped issuing licenses and permits for Uber or Lyft drivers because of it.  Milwaukee City Clerk Jim Owczarski says it is an abrupt stoppage, but the city will comply.  The Common Council worked for months to enact an ordinance which \"levels the playing field\" between traditional taxicabs and ride-sharing companies.  The ordinance passed late last year.  The new state law supersedes that ordinance, but traditional taxis are still forced to go through city permitting and licensing process.  

\"For Uber and Lyft, getting those drivers into the market, letting them see if they could be successful and also being equitable to the traditional cab companies,\" Owczarski said was the Common Council's goal.  \"You're all basically providing the same service, treat you the same, lower the threshold of regulation but still provide health, safety, and welfare protection. We're proud of the solution we came up with the state has chosen another path.\"

The city has seen an increase in transportation options because it lifted the cap on taxi permits and opened the door for Uber and Lyft.
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