- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved rules for ridesharing services such as Uber, saying a statewide approach is better than different regulations in many cities.

The legislation outlining the state regulations advanced Tuesday on a 95-5 vote. It now goes to the Senate for review.

The proposal prevents cities from implementing stricter ordinances in most cases, the Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1HELWzZ ). Rep. Chris Hagenow, a Windsor Height Republican who managed the bill on the House floor, said it ensures consistency across the state for both drivers and riders.

“The intent is that there is one statewide set of rules instead of a patchwork of local ordinances,” he said.

Under the bill, ridesharing companies would have to provide insurance coverage of up to $100,000 for accidents that occur when drivers are waiting to be contacted for a ride and $1 million once a job is accepted.

But Rep. Dawn Pettengill, a Mount Auburn Republican, said those coverage numbers should be higher. She said her personal automotive insurance levels are higher than those determined in the bill.

“It’s just not enough,” she said.

Additional provisions include requiring companies to send riders information about their driver, such as a photo and license plate number, and publicize their methods for calculating fares. Drivers would also need to undergo criminal background checks under the proposed legislation.

Hagenow said these rules, among others, maintains the distinction between ridesharing and taxi companies.

Pooneet Kant, general manager for Iowa Uber Technologies, said the statewide regulatory framework makes sense, and that the company is pleased with the progress overall.

Uber currently operates in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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