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Gov. Doug Ducey signs rideshare bill benefiting Uber, Lyft

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill exempting rideshare services like Uber and Lyft from traditional insurance regulations imposed on taxi and livery companies.

“We believe that companies like Uber and Lyft are innovative, entrepreneurial technologies,” Ducey told reporters earlier this year. “And I want to see those types of companies thrive. And they also create jobs.”

In January, Ducey ordered regulators to stop citing rideshare drivers because the policy wasn’t working and hampered job creation.

The Legislature passed a bill last year that would have exempted the new app-based transportation companies from insurance regulations imposed on traditional taxi and livery companies. It was vetoed by then-Gov. Jan Brewer, who said it failed to protect consumers.

Last year’s fight over the so-called Uber bill was one of the bigger issues of contention within the state Legislature. Democrats and Republicans were split within their own parties. Proponents of the bill said government should stay out of the way and let new companies like Uber innovate, while opponents said the lack of regulations pose a public safety threat.

Traditional taxi and livery companies oppose the current business model for the new transportation services. They argue that drivers are only covered by company insurance when they’re on the way to pick up a passenger who requests a ride using an online app or driving that passenger to their destination.

That leaves the public vulnerable because there are times when the driver isn’t covered by the company’s insurance, said David Leibowitz, who represents cab company Total Transit. For instance, a driver who picks up a fare outside the app isn’t covered, he said.

Total Transit operates Discount Cab in Phoenix and has its own app. Its 200 rideshare drivers are covered by commercial insurance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.