Lawmakers in search of compromise to keep Uber in Kansas


WICHITA, Kansas – The fight over keeping ride sharing service Uber in the state isn’t over just yet. Several lawmakers are revving up talks on a compromise.

State Representative Scott Schwab says talks with both sides began in January.

“Going up until we passed 117 the first time in the conference committee report, there were some times when I was on the phone with Uber execs until 2:30 in the morning,” said Schwab.

Schwab says he met with Uber lobbyists last week, after the lawmakers voted to override Governor Sam Brownback’s veto.

Schwab insists Uber is welcome in Kansas but won’t get special treatment.

“If we can fund a negotiation that satisfies the marketplace, reasonable regulations that maintain market stability and safety, then we want you to work in Kansas,” said Schwab.

With Uber still in Kansas, but not in operation, lawmakers like Senator Michael O’Donnell say that can make negotiations difficult.

“With Uber pulling out some people say that gives us a better edge, I think that does the complete opposite, because they want to make sure no other state puts forward such stiff regulations,” said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell says some solutions for a compromise are being kicked around.

One includes passing a trailer bill, which would be a follow up to the one that recently passed.

O’Donnell says the trailer bill would include any compromise language both sides agree to.

As for if and when a compromise could be made, O’Donnell is optimistic.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if we came to a compromise this week,” said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell says if a compromise isn’t met before the legislative session ends, Uber would most likely not be allowed to operate in Kansas until next year.

Beyond that, O’Donnell says in order for Uber to beginning operation in Kansas again, legislation would have to be passed that the company could agree on.

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