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Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

As session time dwindles, Uber won’t give up


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And the hits against Hillsborough County’s Public Transportation Commission keep coming.

The Florida Senate on Friday passed a measure clamping down on the state’s many special districts, mandating certain transparency, ethics and financial responsibility requirements.

Debate on the bill gave Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, an opportunity to get in a dig on the commission, the state’s only special body that regulates tow trucks, taxis, limos, and other transportation for hire.

The commission has gone “rogue,” he said. “They’ve really gotten out of control.”

His pique is over rules impeding the entry of smartphone-app based car services like Lyft and Uber into the Tampa market. One of those rules mandates a $50 minimum for a ride.

Also on Friday, Uber announced yet another news conference next week to urge passage of legislation that would prevent local authorities from setting minimum fares and minimum wait times

It would also prevent them from restricting the number of vehicle permits.

Brandes is sponsoring the bill in the Senate (SB 1618); James Grant, R-Tampa, has the House bill (HB 1389).

Scheduled to appear at Monday’s presser is Tom Feeney, president of Associated Industries of Florida, the state’s premier business lobby.

Also on the guest list is Bill Herrle, state head of the National Federation of Independent Business, and Thomas Hayes, Uber’s regional operations director.

This time of year, bills are dying; the legislative session is set to end next Friday.

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