Texas-sized debate expected over state ride-hailing bill

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Ride-hailing giants Lyft and Uber left San Antonio after the nation’s seventh largest city restricted their operations. And now the companies are focusing on pushing a proposed state law that would allow them to operate with fewer restrictions across Texas.

The squabble centers on whether companies that use smartphone apps to connect drivers with customers should be held to the same standards as taxi operators.

State records show that the companies are spending as much as $1 million on more than three dozen lobbyists at the Texas statehouse this session. Texas’ taxi industry is fighting the legislation, paying lobbyists about $500,000.

California was first to regulate such companies in 2013. At least three other states have passed similar laws, and about 35 states are considering them.