By on May 19, 2015

Uber Texas BBQ Pedicab

Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week.

The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills through the end of the legislative session June 1, “the funnel is only so large” to commit the necessary action, according to House Republican Caucus chair Rep. Tan Parker of Flower Mound.

One of the bills shut out by the deadline would have granted transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber statewide licenses to operate while stripping individual cities of their right to regulate their services. House Bill 2440, sponsored by Rep. Chris Paddie of Marshall, failed to receive a floor vote due to issues surrounding safety, wheelchair-access, and insurance.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s efforts to overturn the state’s ban on direct sales were thwarted for a second time since 2013. House Bill 1653 and Senate Bill 639 would have allowed automakers who’ve never sold their wares through a franchise dealership network to open and operated up to 12 stores in Texas. Neither bill drew a committee vote on their respective floors, with the blame directed at Tesla itself, according to Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston:

I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first.

[Photo credit: William Beutler/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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11 Comments on “Direct Sales, Ride-Hailing Bills Among Those DOA In Texas House...”

  • avatar

    Mr. Tesla. Nice.

    • 0 avatar

      From her official biography: “Rep. Thompson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Education from Texas Southern University; a law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and a Master’s of Law in International Law from the University of Houston.”

      All the facepalms.

    • 0 avatar

      She’d better get cracking on that time machine if she wants Mr. Tesla to meet with dealers.

    • 0 avatar

      It is possible that she was using Mr. Tesla sardonically. Do they have irony in Texas?

      • 0 avatar

        Of course they do. All those state legislators in favor of unrestricted capitalism and competition most likely shot the bill down, probably also the same guys that bitch endlessly about entitlements for poor peole but think nothing of giving large businesses plenty of free handouts.

        • 0 avatar

          Don’t assume it’s ideology when campaign contributions adequately explain it.

          “Free markets” and the size of one’s business means little compared to filling your own coffers.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          Neither bills were serious legislative efforts. They’re just a political stunt or a half-hearted gesture. Serious bills in Texas get introduced early in January of odd numbered years and have a low number. Supporters of a serious bill already have enough support on the relevant committees to clear that hurdle.

  • avatar

    The legislative process is an egregiously unattractive type of sausage-making.

  • avatar

    I don’t get what’s so difficult about Uber/Lyft and regulation. They are pre-arranged-ride car services, no different from any other, except you use an app instead of calling a dispatch center or using a website to book your car. They should be regulated with whatever rules a state or local government sees fit for any such services.

    Now, are said services over-regulated, or regulated in such a way as to artificially limit competition and raise prices? Maybe. But that’s another discussion entirely, and any changes to said rules should apply to the entire industry, not give special treatment to “tradtional” for-hire services or the new ones.

    (Random side-note: Congrats to this article for not calling them “Ride-Sharing” there’s no “sharing” about them at all, and I remain baffled as to how they ever got that name.)

    • 0 avatar

      I think you are correct, but don’t underestimate the self-preservation intentions of existing companies who want to keep competition at bay.

      Regulation isn’t hard. It isn’t that their system is different, it’s that they are the new company to get in the game. Increasing the complexity and difficulty of Uber/Lift drivers to be able to provide a service limits their ability to compete, which is exactly the intent of the existing companies when they ‘contribute,’ i.e., interfere, with the law-making process and/or contribute to politicians’ campaigns.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The problem is that all taxi services are over-regulated to keep out competition. It’s better to fix that issue than to create special rules for Uber and Lyft.

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