Politics and Government

Minneapolis City Council members celebrate statewide Uber/Lyft legislation

A closeup of Uber and Lyft stickers
Uber and Lyft stickers are prominently displayed on driver Farhan Badel’s Toyota Camry as he drives during a shift in Minneapolis on March 28.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Members of the Minneapolis City Council declared victory Thursday as the council rescinded its rideshare driver ordinance, which has been superseded by statewide legislation boosting driver pay which was passed at the Capitol earlier this week. 

Supporters say the new statewide law would increase driver pay by 20 percent. However, the per mile and per minute rates are lower than the levels included in the Minneapolis ordinance which would have gone into effect July 1.

Council vice president Aisha Chughtai joined city and state elected officials at a City Hall celebration. She said despite the lower rates, it’s still a victory for drivers. 

“Ultimately, what matters is we were all able to work together and we were able to get the best possible policy in the country,” she said. “And that’s something to be celebrated.”

However, at least one council member was not in a celebratory mood. 

During the council’s regularly scheduled meeting, council member Linea Palmisano said while the end result is positive, preemption could have been avoided. 

“We could have come to a compromise on this. We could have avoided preemption and we could have ended the session with a bonding bill perhaps, but sadly throughout this whole process it seemed like many of my colleagues were more focused on other things than sound policy making.”

Other council members said there was no guarantee that preemption was avoidable.

Council member Aurin Chowdhury said throughout the process, legislators were not able to assure her or other council members that preemption was off the table.

“And for that reason, we contend that preemption was unavoidable in the way it was unavoidable in other states where laws like this were passed,” she said. 

People stand for a press conference
Minneapolis City Council member Robin Wonsley is joined by council leadership, the president of the Minnesota Uber and Lyft Drivers Association and lead author of the new statewide rideshare bill Sen. Omar Fateh at Minneapolis City Hall on Thursday to celebrate the passage of the new bill.
Sarah Thamer | MPR News

Council member Robin Wonsley said the new bill represents a threat to corporations who exploit workers. 

“Minnesota drivers’ victory is part of a history of working class people of color, refusing to settle for the unjust status quo that the establishment has constantly offered them,” Wonsley said. 

The state bill would guarantee minimum pay for drivers of $1.28 a mile and $.31 per minute.

Gov. Tim Walz, who vetoed rideshare legislation last year, has said he’ll sign this bill. The bill was presented to the governor Thursday and he has two weeks to take action.

If the governor signs the bill, the new rates go into effect on Dec. 1.  

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