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MN Senate passes Uber, Lyft bill, sending it to Governor Walz's desk

The Senate passed a bill on Sunday that raises wages and gives drivers more protections. Lyft and Uber are urging the governor to veto it.

ST PAUL, Minn — On Sunday, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill that had Uber and Lyft drivers cheering at the State Capitol, much to the disappointment of the companies that rely on these independent contractors. 

The Minnesota Senate passed the bill, 35-32. 

It would raise wages and give stronger protections to drivers against being fired or "deactivated." Minimum compensation would be at least $1.45 per mile and $0.34 per minute in the Twin Cities metro area and at least $1.25 per mile for trips that start outside the metro. There is also a minimum fee of $5.00 for any transportation of a rider by a driver.

Uber said the deal they had negotiated with drivers would pay them $1.17 per mile and $0.34 per min, the same rate paid in their deal with Washington. 

For 10 months, the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Drivers Association (MULDA) has been fighting for better working conditions. 

After the vote, members of MULDA raised Sen. Fateh onto their shoulders while celebrating. 

"It feels awesome. It was a long, hard year making this bill possible because of these drivers. They showed up every single day. They showed up to the committees; they made this a reality. Now the bill's going to the governor's desk. So I'm so proud," said Sen. Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis), one of the authors of the bill. 

"I am just beyond happy. My heart is filled," said Nimco Ahmed, president of the Somali American Coalition. 

Uber, meanwhile, said the legislation could leave drivers without work.

In a statement, Uber said, "For months, we have begged legislators to work with us on a compromise that raises rates for drivers without hurting riders, and for months our pleas were ignored. Unfortunately, what we're left with is a bill rushed through in the final hours that will leave hundreds of low-income and disabled riders stranded and thousands of drivers without work." 

Lyft claims the bill would destroy rideshare for the majority of Minnesotans and would more than double ride fares. 

Both Uber and Lyft told KARE 11 they are urging Governor Tim Walz to veto the bill. 

Unlike many of the other bills the DFL-controlled legislature has passed, Gov. Walz has not yet committed to signing the Uber/Lyft bill.

Prior to the Senate vote, during a press conference Sunday afternoon, Gov. Walz said on the bill, "There's a long ways to go yet. We've said all along that this is an economy that needs to be looked at. We are thoughtful on things and I think the thing in the executive branch that folks in the legislatures know but this time of year, kind of have to take into consideration we're responsible for the implementation. So we have questions on a lot of areas that need to be answered before things come to us."

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