Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill Wednesday regulating Uber in South Carolina, making the Palmetto state one of 21 nationwide to do so.
The law includes various requirements that transportation network companies — those that function akin to Uber — have to follow. If they don’t, drivers or people working for the company could be fined.
For South Carolina, the bill’s signing comes about a year after Uber came to the state and after efforts at the state and local level to come up with appropriate regulation. South Carolina is one of 19 states to pass legislation this year.
It wasn’t surprising that Haley OK’d the bill, given her past statements on Uber, reported by the Associated Press.
On Thursday, the governor’s office praised the new law.
“Uber’s expansion into our state is a win for innovation, the competitive business environment we have fought so hard to create, and it means our citizens will continue to have safe reliable transportation options,” said Chaney Adams, spokeswoman for Haley, in an email.
South Carolina’s law mandates that transportation network companies apply to the Office of Regulatory Staff to get permits. Uber is operating under a short-term license that lasts until July 1. The legislation gives the company about two months after the law becomes active to meet that mandate.
Drivers also need background checks, and can’t be registered sex offenders. In the past decade, they can’t have convictions related to drunk driving or driving while on drugs, the law says. Drivers who have loans on the car they’re using also must tell the entity that provided the loan about their work with the transportation network company. Drivers also are required to have something that shows they’re from a transportation network company on their car. Cars also need to be inspected, the law says.
Uber was positive about the state passing the bill.
“Governor Haley’s signature marks a victory for riders and drivers across South Carolina,” Michael Black, South Carolina general manager for Uber, said in an emailed statement.
The state regulations also override rules the city of Charleston passed earlier this year.
But for Charleston, that’s not a big problem.
“It covers just everything that the city had in mind when we were going to regulate it on the local level,” said Frances Cantwell, assistant corporation counsel for Charleston, adding, “I think it’s good for the state to have something in place and everybody’s playing by the same rules.”
Reach Allison Prang at 937-5705 or on Twitter @AllisonPrang.