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Scooter Regulation Debate Headed To Florida House Floor

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – With the industry described by one lobbyist as being in its "infancy," the full House could take up controversial bill that would limit the ability of cities and counties to regulate scooter sharing services.

The House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday approved a bill (HB 453), sponsored by Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, that would set up a statewide regulatory framework for the industry, which involves riders using apps to hop on motorized scooters that can be left in various places.

Toledo said the bill, in part, would require cities and counties to treat scooter riders like bicyclists.

She said the bill would help prevent cities and counties from using regulations to pick "winners and losers" in the industry.

But critics such as Jeff Branch, a lobbyist for the Florida League of Cities, said local governments should be able to determine how to regulate the services.

"They (requirements) have to be crafted locally, local decisions," Branch said.

Some parts of Florida are already testing out the practice.

Last week, Miami became the latest city in the nation to give e-scooters the green light.

Six scooter companies are putting 300 scooters on the streets and sidewalks of Commission District 2, which belongs to Commissioner Ken Russel.

District 2 encompasses portions of the City of Miami, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, City of Hialeah and unincorporated areas of Liberty City, Biscayne Gardens and North Dade Central.

HB 453 has been approved by three committee, readying it to go to the full House.

A Senate version (SB 542), sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, has cleared two committees and is awaiting a hearing in the Appropriations Committee.

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