Uber and Lyft won’t be driven out of Indiana with fingerprint background checks

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The public standoff between the city of Austin, Texas and ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft entered its second week Monday.

The companies halted services after the city approved fingerprint background checks for drivers.

In Indiana, though, drivers won’t have to worry about that.

“I think it’s pretty obvious the only people who can regulate are those who wrote that law,” said Vop Osili, an Indianapolis city-county councilman.

Last year a new law went into effect requiring background checks for drivers of ride-sharing services, but it also prevented cities from passing their own ordinances to regulate the companies.

“We actually as a municipality and a unit of government could not touch it at all,” Osili said. “We were completely forbidden to address it.”

State Rep. Christina Hale (D-Indianapolis) was a leading force in pushing through the new statewide legislation requiring background checks and a check on the national sex offender registry.

“You’re in a pretty vulnerable situation when you’re sitting in the back of somebody’s car,” she said.

Hale says the loss of local control was “a compromise we needed to make to get the bill passed.”

But she added her work to protect riders and level the playing field will continue next session.

“We want to strike the right balance to ensure everybody’s safe,” she said. “Everybody has that expectation that the person driving them has passed a rigorous background check. At the same time, we want to support this emerging business.”

In Austin, Lyft claims the regulations don’t allow the ride-sharing company to operate, making it harder for part-time drivers to get on the road.

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