- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Legislature approved compromise regulations Tuesday that ride-hailing company Uber said will allow it to stay in the state.

Large majorities in both chambers voted for the bill, sending it to the governor on a day in which he signed a bill defining fantasy sports as legal and the House shelved a bill seeking to revive a Kansas City, Kansas, dog and horse racing park.

Uber announced in early May that it had ceased operations in Kansas after the Legislature overrode the governor’s veto on regulations the company opposed. The company said in a statement Tuesday after the passage of the compromise bill that it “emphasizes safety and allows Uber’s ridesharing product to deliver benefits to communities across the state.”

“We are excited about bringing Uber back to the Sunflower State,” the company statement said.

Here is a look at some of the significant actions taken by the legislature on Tuesday.



Under the compromise legislation sent to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk, Uber and other ride-hailing companies could do private background checks on their subcontracted drivers. But they could face lawsuits from the attorney general if drivers were found to be operating with a criminal background.

The previous measure required drivers to undergo background checks through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Republican Sen. Jeff Longbine from Emporia, who led the final negotiations on the bill, said in a Senate GOP caucus meeting that he has “been given indication that the governor will sign it.”

Brownback’s spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said Brownback will carefully review the bill before taking any action, but added “the governor has consistently said that he thinks (Uber is) the sort of company that you want here in Kansas.”



Brownback did sign a bill Tuesday clarifying the legality of fantasy leagues, along with seven other measures.

The legality of fantasy sports leagues has been in dispute because the Kansas Constitution allows only the state to administer games fitting a broad definition of a lottery. The state’s gambling regulator announced in August that it viewed fantasy sports as illegal lotteries, though there have been no known prosecutions.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt released an opinion in April saying legislators could legalize fantasy sports leagues by declaring that the outcomes depend upon the knowledge and skill of the players.



A bill designed to revive a dog and horse racing park in Kansas City, Kansas, with slot machines has stalled in the Kansas House, after passing the Senate last week.

Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, assigned the measure to the House Calendar and Printing Committee. The group’s chairman, House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey, a Louisburg Republican, said Tuesday he’s not sure the panel will meet again this year.

The bill would help The Woodlands in Kansas City, Kansas, which closed in 2008 after the passage in 2007 of a law that allowed slots at dog and horse tracks but said the state would claim 40 percent of the net revenues. Track owners have said the state’s share is too high for slots to be profitable, and the measure would decrease the state’s share to 22 percent for The Woodlands.

Republican leaders brought the measure up for a vote last week at the urging of GOP Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, whose district includes the park.

“I’m not going to stop until I get it done,” Fitzgerald said Tuesday. “We’ll just keep pushing.”

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