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Abbott comments on Austin rideshare referendum

Sort of.


Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday the fight is not finished when it comes to regulations in Austin that have driven ride-hailing companies out of the state capital.

“The issue’s not over,” Abbott said in an interview on CNBC. “Republicans in the Texas Legislature have already raised proposals coming up in the next session to override the Austin vote.”

Pressed on whether ride-hailing companies Lyft or Uber would return to Austin, Abbott said: “I’d just say the game is not over. It’s halftime, and we’ll see what happens in the second half.”



In the CNBC interview, Abbott was read a tweet from venture capitalist Paul Graham that said “Austin has zero chance of being a serious startup hub without Uber and Lyft.” Abbott denied that, saying the city is “already a dynamic startup hub.”

“That process has already left the barn, as we say in the state of Texas, and there’s nothing that will slow it down,” Abbott said. “And the dynamics that’s causing Austin to be a startup hub are already in place and will not be diminished by” the Proposition 1 vote.

As we know, legislation has already been proposed to enact statewide ridesharing regulations, though whether such a bill (if it passed in the first place) would include fingerprinting requirements or not remains an open question. Normally, one doesn’t have to parse Greg Abbott’s words closely, but I can’t tell from this story where he really stands. Is this a priority for him? Is he anti-fingerprints? Unclear at this time. I’m not sure if that’s because Republicans are not of one mind when it comes to fingerprinting, and Abbott wants to see how the wind is blowing before he commits himself, or if it was just a vague question asked by an idiot CNBC host that wasn’t designed to elicit a specific answer. In any event, Abbott and Dan Patrick don’t have to single this out as a priority to get a bill to pass, but if they do it increases the likelihood of it happening.

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  1. voter_worker says:

    Texas already requires fingerprinting for engineers, architects and landscape architects to be licensed to practice in Texas. I haven’t checked to see what other occupations have fingerprinting requirements. It’s not a stretch to imagine the California tech bros applying their muscle to the Lege to get what they want. In this case, I hope the anti-California bias held by many Texas GOP elected officials will be in play to help keep them from getting rolled by the arrogant techies.

  2. Joshua ben bullard says:

    I will be debating this issue and other taxi/uber issues on 88.7 FM today at 12-noon with Mayor Sylvester Turner with a rebroadcast at 7 pm.TurnerVsBullard.

  3. Paul Kubosh says:

    Abbott over riding a vote. That is disappointing. Very disappointing but not surprising.

  4. Paul Kubosh says:

    I concur with voter worker. However, we know that big money can move legislation in Austin.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Considering the number of lawsuits filed by the State of Texas against the US government for meddling, you’d think Abbot would tread lightly when contemplating the state government meddling in local government affairs.

    Frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about this whole fingerprint issue at this point. Generally, I’d prefer less regulation vs. more regulation of business. Having said that, if the taxi companies are subject to fingerprinting, then it doesn’t seem fair to let the competition NOT fingerprint.

    Perhaps the solution is less fingerprinting, period?

  6. Reuel says:

    If the State of Texas wants to control transportation in Austin, then they can also be responsible for investigating all the sexual assaults, maintaining the roads and signs, building new roads, deciding where TNC’s should pick up and drop off at the airport, …

    Oh, they don’t want to do all that? Then stay out of it.

    Maybe Austin should publicly offer to Uber that as long as the drivers are considered to be employees and not contractors, and Uber is responsible for their conduct, then no fingerprints are required. Of course, they won’t accept that offer — this is not about fingerprints, this is about keeping their workforce from having any negotiating power. By keeping the pool of potential drivers large, Uber keeps it so no threats to strike or any other labor actions will have any sway.

  7. Paul Kubosh says:


    “Oh, they don’t want to do all that? Then stay out of it.”

    I couldn’t agree more. If the people voted honor the vote.

  8. Steve Houston says:

    I can’t help but wonder whether the “local control” advocates from around the state are going to flip flop again.