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Gov. Walz signs bill raising Minnesota rideshare driver pay, keeping Lyft and Uber in state

Minnesota governor signs rideshare bill giving drivers raise, keeping Lyft and Uber
Minnesota governor signs rideshare bill giving drivers raise, keeping Lyft and Uber 01:54

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law on Tuesday morning that boosts the pay of rideshare drivers following an agreement with Uber and Lyft that will keep them operating in the state.

 "I think a lot of people don't want to take a ride knowing that the person that's driving them can't afford to pay their bills or their children can't eat," Walz said. "That's not what people want to do. They want a fairness in this."

The deal at the bill's heart was struck on May 18 in the final hours of the 2024 Minnesota legislative session between the Democratic majority at the Capitol and Democrat Walz.

"Only a few people fight the fight, but victory belongs to everybody. This victory belongs to all Minnesotans," said Rep. Hodan Hassan, DFL-Minneapolis. "Minnesota has a long history of fighting for workers. Minnesota has a long history of protecting people. When we started this fight two years ago, we knew it was going to be a hard fight. There were a lot of tears, but we won, and the drivers won."

Uber and Lyft threatened to cease operations in Minnesota on July 1 following an ordinance passed by the Minneapolis City Council in March that sought to raise driver pay by $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute. Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed the bill, which the council overrode soon after.

The compromised raise is $1.28 per mile and $0.31 per minute, which DFL House Majority Leader Jamie Long said earlier this month amounts to about a 20% pay bump. It also contains added benefits, including what has been touted as the strongest insurance provision for rideshare drivers in the U.S.

Gov. Tim Walz WCCO

The new rates won't go into effect until the end of the year and will override the Minneapolis ordinance that started the months-long debate. 

Eid Ali, president of the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Drivers Association (MULDA), said at Tuesday's signing that members of his community depend on driving full-time for their livelihood.

Ali told WCCO earlier this month that while the bill is solid progress, it was still a letdown, especially in light of Walz and Frey vetoing similar bills last year due to threats from the two rideshare giants.

"It was a little bit disappointing that a Democratic state came up with a way to destroy that work," Ali said.

An Uber spokesperson has warned that the bill will lead to price increases that "may hurt riders and drivers alike."

Several other companies had entered the Twin Cities market amid the threat of a rideshare vacuum. While their viability is uncertain now that Uber and Lyft are staying put, Ali told WCCO that more options mean more power for drivers and riders alike.

"The people will have choices to make and better services, and the drivers will have also a way to kind of work with any companies that treat them fairly," he said.

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