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January 11, 2016      5:08 PM

Senate Transportation leader says fingerprinting should eventually be mandated statewide for Uber, Lyft

Ridesharing companies in a standoff with Austin over fingerprinting, but Uber “is absolutely thriving” in Houston where fingerprint checks have been required for years

As the City of Austin prepares to tweak its ordinance governing ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, one key senator continues to work with the companies in hopes of passing statewide rules that would supersede local ordinances like Austin's in the next legislative session.

Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, chairs the Senate Transportation Committee and was ready last session to shepherd through the upper chamber a bill to regulate the companies. But House Bill 2440 – which in its final version did not require drivers to be fingerprinted – never made it onto the Texas House calendar. The issue was a high-priority for some in the lobby, more than three dozen of whom were set to earn up to $1 million fighting for or against the bill.

"I want it to work, and I want to help them," Nichols said in a phone interview with Quorum Report. "As long as we've got fingerprinting in there, I think we could sell it."

By Eva Ruth Moravec