MA Speaker of the House - Background Checks
Posted Friday, February 26, 2016

Just out from State House News:



By Andy Metzger

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 24, 2016....House Speaker Robert DeLeo said a move by Boston police to fingerprint all taxi drivers has colored his thinking on ride-hailing legislation he hoped to get done this month.

On Monday, Boston police began fingerprinting all taxi drivers licensed to operate in Boston to allow for more thorough background checks, the department announced.

"It was my original feeling that there would be obviously a record check. I thought that would be sufficient," DeLeo told reporters on Wednesday. "But based upon what the police commissioner says, I'm going to speak to them as well on that."

Largely unregulated and in competition for fares with the heavily regulated taxi industry, ride-hailing services live on smartphones where customers can request a lift from drivers cruising in private vehicles.

Speaking after a House Democratic caucus, DeLeo said the lawmakers drafting the bill are considering the question of finger-printing.

Legislation filed by Gov. Charlie Baker to regulate companies such as Uber and Lyft did not address fingerprinting, and Public Safety and Security Secretary Dan Bennett has told lawmakers the background checks proposed in the governor's bill (H 3351) would be sufficient.

"I think the proposal that we made was what I would describe as sort of the best way to meet the public safety and insurance concerns that people had, as well as some of the identification concerns that people had," Baker said Tuesday when asked whether his position had shifted on fingerprinting.

A bill H 3702
backed by Rep. Michael Moran and Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry would require finger-printing of drivers.

The speaker in January said he hoped to take up legislation regulating companies such as Uber and Lyft in February.

"Well, February's a short month, so possibly we'll see it relatively soon, but I am confident the bill is moving along," DeLeo told reporters, laughing. DeLeo said he immediately thought of the pending legislation after learning that the alleged shooter in a mass murder in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Saturday is an Uber driver but said that event would not affect its outcome.