Watch CBS News

DFL leaders, Gov. Tim Walz say they have a deal to pay drivers more, keep Uber and Lyft operating in Minnesota after threats to exit

Lawmakers reach a deal over rideshare operations in Minnesota
Lawmakers reach a deal over rideshare operations in Minnesota 02:10

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Democrats in charge of the Minnesota Legislature and DFL Gov. Tim Walz late Saturday night announced they reached an agreement that would pay rideshare drivers more per ride, but also keep Uber and Lyft operating in state after the companies planned to exit this summer due to a Minneapolis ordinance. 

The rate in the deal, according to DFL House Majority Leader Jamie Long, is $1.28 per mile and $0.31 per minute, which he told reporters amounts to a 20% pay increase for drivers. It includes other protections and benefits for drivers, too. 

"We applaud the tens of thousands of riders and drivers who sent close to 100,000 emails to legislators — your voices were heard," Uber's policy director Josh Gold said. "While the coming price increases may hurt riders and drivers alike, we will be able to continue to operate across the State under the compromise brokered by the Governor." 

A spokesperson for Lyft did not respond to a request for comment. Both companies had been working with lawmakers and lobbying for a statewide solution. 

Democrats unveiled the agreement just before 10 p.m. Saturday in the critical final hours of the session where the fate of many policies is still uncertain because the Senate acted on just one bill before going into recess because of this negotiation.

"This is the strongest (transportation network companies) bill in the country — the protections, the insurance, the deactivation provisions and the pay," said Rep. Hodan Hassan, DFL-Minneapolis, one of the chief authors. "This is a great bill."

Long also said the new proposal — which still needs to pass the House and Senate — would preempt the city of Minneapolis' ordinance that mandated driver pay at $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute. Uber and Lyft said they would leave Minneapolis July 1 when that provision was set to take effect, which reignited the debate at the capitol to pass legislation setting rules for the whole state.

Walz had vetoed a different rideshare bill last year.

"I don't think any of us who are up here for this are for preemption, but we are for the best deal we could possibly get for drivers. And this was the best deal we could possibly get for drivers," Long said. "We fought incredibly hard, negotiated as hard as we could with Uber and Lyft, and this was their condition throughout."

The Minnesota Senate was in recess for 10 hours Saturday and the majority provided no details as to why — only that end-of-session negotiations were happening behind closed doors. In her motion Saturday morning to pause the work of the chamber, DFL Sen. Majority Leader Erin Murphy initially said it would be brief because of the long list of outstanding bills the chamber needed to act on in the waning hours of the session. 

Lawmakers must adjourn Monday and are required to pass all bills by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. 

"When you're about ready to reach the conclusion, there's a lot of intensity, and we made sure for the important purpose of this legislation that we are giving the time that we needed to to get this done," Murphy said when asked about the hours-long recess.

Republican leaders criticized Democrats for leaving them out of the rideshare negotiations. They said they only learned of the agreement when the press conference happened.

"We represent 50% of the state, and we were kept in the dark the entire time tonight," Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said. "So this is very disappointing to see all that rolled out here today."

Neither Johnson nor House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, committed GOP support to the proposal at this time, though Republicans had been urging Democrats to act on rideshare before session ended and had introduced a preemption bill earlier in the session.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.