21st Century Economy

Sen. Mike McGuire’s bill would require reporting by vacation rental companies

Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

A North Coast senator is taking aim at online vacation rental businesses such as Airbnb through proposed legislation that could reap millions for cities and counties in uncollected bed taxes, but critics slam as government over-reach and a threat to the so-called sharing economy.

But critics said the bill would be bad for business and for innovation.

“While consumer protections are generally a great thing, consumers shouldn’t be fooled by this barely-veiled, anti-competitive threat to innovative marketplaces,” Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates, said in a statement.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/home/3681120-181/sen-mike-mcguires-bill-would

 

Business Insider: Uber and Lyft fail to convince judges their employees are ‘independent contractors’

Here are the two most pertinent quotes from the story, both coming from California District Judge Vince Chhabria:

“The jury in this case will be handed a square peg and asked to choose between two round holes.”

“California’s outmoded test for classifying workers will apply in cases like this. And because the test provides nothing remotely close to a clear answer, it will often be for juries to decide.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-and-lyft-fail-to-convince-judges-their-employees-are-independent-contractors-2015-3#ixzz3UIFTYbVy

Congress Presses Uber And Lyft On Driver Background Checks

(Via Tech Crunch)

Ride-sharing companies are not strangers to Congressional inquiries. This week a group of Congressional Democrats hit the CEOs of Uber, Sidecar and Lyft with another letter, this time demanding the companies conduct more comprehensive background checks on their drivers to better protect customers from sexual assaults.

Although these companies conduct internal screenings, the cohort of lawmakers do not believe they go far enough. The representatives called on the companies to adopt fingerprint-based background checks for drivers, both new and existing. The representatives believe a change to the policy is needed following the alleged string of sexual assaults by ride-share drivers in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Read the full article here.

Zombie Ridesharing Bill Comes Back To Life In California

Via Tech Crunch

A bill designed to regulate ridesharing companies in California is back. State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian has submitted a bill aimed at placing new rules on companies like Uber and Lyft. Assembly Bill 24, however, is incredibly similar to Assembly Bill 612, which failed in committee in 2014. Nazarian notes in a release on the bill that 24 is “similar” to 612, which is understatement.

Maligning ridesharing services as “simply high-tech hitchhiking,” Nazarian claims to be “hopeful that after too many senseless and preventable acts of violence [that] ridesharing companies would be more inclined to work with me to pass legislation that restores the public’s trust in this wonderful and innovative transportation model.”

 

Read the entire Tech Crunch article here

LA Times: Bill proposing tougher regulation for Uber and Lyft back on the table

 

From a March 5, 2015 article in the LA Times.

“Regulation of ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar is making a comeback in the California Legislature this session.

Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) introduced a bill that would require all drivers working for ride-hailing companies to register their cars as ride-hailing vehicles with the California Public Utilities Commission and display decals identifying them as such.”

Mike Montgomery, executive director of technology advocacy group CALinnovates, which counts Uber and Sidecar among its partners, described the introduction of AB 24 as “outrageous” and “blatantly uncompetitive.”

Read the full article here.

TechCrunch: Zombie Ridesharing Bill Comes Back To Life In California

From a March 5, 2015 article posted on TechCrunch:

“A bill designed to regulate ridesharing companies in California is back. State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian has submitted a bill aimed at placing new rules on companies like Uber and Lyft. Assembly Bill 24, however, is incredibly similar to Assembly Bill 612, which failed in committee in 2014. Nazarian notes in a release on the bill that 24 is “similar” to 612, which is understatement.”

“Others weighed in along similar lines. CALinnovates, a group that works to connect technology firms with the “slower moving […] public policy communities in Sacramento and Washington, DC,” said the following:”

It is outrageous that any legislative energy will be spent on this new bill, a practical carbon copy of Assembly Bill 612, a bill that didn’t even make it out of committee last year. […]

Nazarian’s bill is a blatantly anti-competitive example of regulatory capture at its very worst that will only serve to pile on bureaucratic redundancy and red tape while choking innovation.

Read the full article here.

FCC Commissioner to Tech Industry: It’s Time to Reinvent Textbooks, Teaching

FCC’s Jessica Rosenworcel (L), General Catalyst’s Hemant Taneja (C), Class Dojo’s Sam Chaudhary (R)

FCC Commissioner to Tech Industry: It’s Time to Reinvent Textbooks, Teaching

After increasing spending by $1.5 billion on Internet broadband projects for schools FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel asks the tech industry to innovate for education.

SAN FRANCISCO — On the heels of its Dec. 19 decision to raise Internet connectivity funding for schools by $1.5 billion, the Federal Communications Commission urged Silicon Valley to couple funding with innovative educational material.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel spoke to the audience of tech entrepreneurs at Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters on Jan. 8, highlighting the FCC’s recent efforts and encouraging the digital disruption within teaching and the textbook industry. The event was hosted by the tech advocacy group CALinnovates.

Click here to read the rest of the story in GovTech.

Peer-to-Peer Economy Could Benefit from Better, Not More, Regulation

In October, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors did something very smart; by a vote of 7 to 4, it made Airbnb legal.

In some ways, this was not news. The fact that the room rental service had been technically illegal in the city did not stop thousands of homeowners and travelers from taking advantage of the Internet platform. In fact, as many as 5,000 San Francisco rentals are available on Airbnb on any given day. But the short-term rentals were violating city laws that classified them as businesses and therefore not allowed in residential zones. The new law creates a safer environment for Airbnb users and will contribute millions to the city’s tax coffers.

San Francisco is an example other cities and states need to follow. They need to both clear a path for new entrants and protect the health and safety of consumers.

This does not mean following New York’s lead. The New York attorney general recently came down hard on Airbnb. A report from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, based on subpoenaed information, showed that 72 percent of all Airbnb listings in New York City are considered illegal under the state’s Multiple Dwelling Law or city zoning laws. Those rentals accounted for approximately
$304 million in revenue over the past four years. Furthermore, Airbnb is big business in New York where more than 100 renters own more than 10 units each and illegally generate millions of dollars in revenue.

Read the rest at Techwire

On Ridesharing

 

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The following statement can be attributed to Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates

Ridesharing companies make great efforts to meet stringent rules of the road as determined by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which has taken on an important leadership role to create a framework for these companies and consumers to coexist. These rules are comprehensive and exhaustive.

Ridesharing companies should – and do – utilize a best practices approach to conducting background checks on drivers in order to ensure consumer safety. Despite this, certain non-CPUC lawmakers have called upon the industry to do it their way or face the wrath of litigation.

CALinnovates urges these lawmakers to adopt a constructive meet-and-confer approach that balances the number one priority of consumer safety with the economic and consumer benefits of these platforms. CALinnovates has long advocated such an approach, which would be far more results oriented than governing – and litigating – via press conference.

Consumers are embracing new business models in order to meet their needs in a safe, convenient and cost-effective way. We put our trust in Transportation Network Companies to provide safe travels.  I say with no hyperbole that I feel extraordinarily safe in a rideshare. Through my experiences working with leading rideshare companies, I know that consumer protection and safety are paramount to these organizations and will continue to be a guiding principle in the development of this industry.

 

*Sidecar, Uber, and Shuddle are members of CALinnovates

 

 

FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel on the Innovation Economy

There are few people better equipped to talk about innovation and technology than FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. She is a frequent visitor to Silicon Valley, which helps inform her understanding of the Valley’s point of view.

So it was a real honor for CALinnovates to sit down with Commissioner Rosenworcel and discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the innovation economy. From the complexity of spectrum policy to what Washington DC needs to learn from Silicon Valley, Rosenworcel is an important voice for the tech community.

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