State politicians move to override veto of jobs-killing rideshare legislation


 

Jim Evans, 73, is a longtime Chicagoan who served in the military.

He’s also a rideshare driver.

To supplement his modest Social Security income, Jim started working as an UberX driver a little over a year ago. He works when he wants to, and makes about $2,000 a month to help support himself and his wife.

Though Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed legislation that would have crippled Jim’s ability to earn a living as a rideshare driver, some state politicians are working to override the governor’s veto. State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, one of the bill’s sponsors, filed a motion Monday to override the veto.

Tens of thousands of rideshare drivers and consumers came out against the legislation that Quinn stopped in August. If passed, the new statewide rules would have set an 18-hour weekly limit on drivers who want to avoid steep government regulations.

Quinn’s veto was likely little more than a political stunt, meant to curry favor among a public that overwhelmingly supports the ridesharing industry.

But the threat to rideshare companies is real once more. These startups face an entrenched taxi industry that has strong ties to Illinois politicians.

The Illinois Transportation Trade Industry, which represents the taxi industry, formed a million-dollar political action committee earlier this year as efforts to sign stiff rideshare regulations into law ramped up, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In July, the trade group donated $50,000 to Senate President John Cullerton; in October, the group contributed $25,000 to House Majority Leader Mike Madigan and $25,000 to the Democratic Party of Illinois, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Chicago loves ridesharing. As services such as Lyft and Uber expand to the suburbs and downstate, their fan base will only continue to grow.

Special interests and the politicians they fund may want to limit ridesharing, but few others do. Especially not drivers like Jim.

“Why should I lose my job because the taxi companies fail to innovate?” Jim said.

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