Early Voting Begins on Austin's Ride-Hailing Security Ordinances

Austin's mayor announced April 25 that he opposes the ordinance from Uber and Lyft that would repeal the city's current requirement to have drivers fingerprinted as part of a national criminal background check.

Early voting began April 25 in Austin, Texas, ahead of the May 7 election to decide whether drivers for Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft, Inc., as well as any other company using a ride-hailing app that enters the Austin market, must be fingerprinted as part of a national criminal background check. The city's current ordinance requires fingerprinting, but Uber and Lyft have proposed their own ordinance that would prohibit fingerprinting, and they have contributed more than $2 million in cash and in-kind contributions to a local political action committee named Ridesharing Works for Austin that is supporting their ordinance.

Voters are being asked in Proposition 1 on the city ballot whether they support the Uber/Lyft ordinance or not; a no vote would preserve the city's current ordinance.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced April 25 that he opposes Proposition 1. The mayor had not previously announced a position on it, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Ride-hailing companies are called Transportation Network Companies in the two ordinances.

Uber and Lyft favor name-based background checks and have threatened to leave the Austin market if their ordinance fails. Early voting continues through May 3.

The newspaper has reported that fingerprint-based background checks are currently required of Austin's taxi, limousine, and pedicab drivers.

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