- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A state law requiring criminal background checks on drivers of ride-hailing companies took effect this week with Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan’s signature.

The law also requires ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to provide commercial insurance and have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug and alcohol use by their drivers.

The new law removes the patchwork of ride-hailing regulations that cities including Manchester and Portsmouth had enacted, NHPR reports (https://bit.ly/28VSLGW).

Most of the provisions in the so-called Uber bill mirror existing practices of Uber, which supported the legislation.

The law bars the ride-hailing companies from hiring as drivers anyone who has been convicted in the past seven years of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, using a motor vehicle to commit a felony, sexual offenses and crimes involving property damage.

“Before you have a transportation company or that type of infrastructure industry move in anywhere, they want to have a regulatory package in place so they know what the rules of the game are,” said Steven Smith, a Republican in the House who chairs the transportation committee and sponsored the bill.

Hassan said the ride-hailing companies are making the state more attractive to students, young professionals and visitors. She said the new law will ensure that Uber and other companies “have a permanent home here in New Hampshire.”

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