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ALBANY – The state Senate on Monday approved expanding ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft outside New York City—where they have operated since 2013—to the rest of the state.

The Senate passed the bill, S4159, by a vote of 53-5, though several members said in debate that the legislation was almost certainly not the chamber’s final word on the issue this year.

It also does not yet have a companion in the state Assembly. A spokesman for the Democrat-controlled Assembly said it was working on a bill favored by its majority that would be advanced soon.

“There is a lot here that has to be done when it comes to equity and fairness,” said Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn. “I will be voting ‘aye’ on this bill so we can get a conversation going.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on lawmakers to extend ride-sharing throughout New York during his State of the State messages last month, and the Assembly generally has favored bills as well.

A push to negotiate a ride-sharing expansion in late December between the Legislature and Cuomo’s office failed, largely over differences concerning the security and background criminal checks that should be required of drivers (NYLJ, Dec. 29). Ride-sharing drivers are fingerprinted under New York City law, allowing them to operate there, but local laws outside the city vary about fingerprinting and criminal background check requirements for licensed taxi or limousine drivers.

The bill approved Monday called for ride-sharing drivers outside of New York City to face “criminal history background checks” to be worked out between ride-sharing companies and the state. It does not require fingerprint checks.

Both New Jersey and Maryland have adopted criminal background check mandates for ride-sharing drivers that do not entail fingerprinting.

The New York Civil Liberties Union has raised objections to a ride-sharing expansion bill in New York that includes a fingerprinting mandate.

The chief sponsor of the Senate bill, James Seward, R-Milford, said his legislation also adopts an insurance approach worked out with the approval of ride-sharing companies and in use in 40 other states.

Alix Anfang, an Uber spokeswoman, said Monday the Senate bill was a step in the right direction.

“We are encouraged to see that the Senate and the governor are listening to the voices of New Yorkers over those of special interests and making ride-sharing a priority,” Anfang said. “It is now time for the Assembly to do the same and ensure that upstate has what New York City and 47 other states have.”

ALBANY – The state Senate on Monday approved expanding ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft outside New York City—where they have operated since 2013—to the rest of the state.

The Senate passed the bill, S4159, by a vote of 53-5, though several members said in debate that the legislation was almost certainly not the chamber’s final word on the issue this year.

It also does not yet have a companion in the state Assembly. A spokesman for the Democrat-controlled Assembly said it was working on a bill favored by its majority that would be advanced soon.

“There is a lot here that has to be done when it comes to equity and fairness,” said Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn. “I will be voting ‘aye’ on this bill so we can get a conversation going.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on lawmakers to extend ride-sharing throughout New York during his State of the State messages last month, and the Assembly generally has favored bills as well.

A push to negotiate a ride-sharing expansion in late December between the Legislature and Cuomo’s office failed, largely over differences concerning the security and background criminal checks that should be required of drivers (NYLJ, Dec. 29). Ride-sharing drivers are fingerprinted under New York City law, allowing them to operate there, but local laws outside the city vary about fingerprinting and criminal background check requirements for licensed taxi or limousine drivers.

The bill approved Monday called for ride-sharing drivers outside of New York City to face “criminal history background checks” to be worked out between ride-sharing companies and the state. It does not require fingerprint checks.

Both New Jersey and Maryland have adopted criminal background check mandates for ride-sharing drivers that do not entail fingerprinting.

The New York Civil Liberties Union has raised objections to a ride-sharing expansion bill in New York that includes a fingerprinting mandate.

The chief sponsor of the Senate bill, James Seward, R-Milford, said his legislation also adopts an insurance approach worked out with the approval of ride-sharing companies and in use in 40 other states.

Alix Anfang, an Uber spokeswoman, said Monday the Senate bill was a step in the right direction.

“We are encouraged to see that the Senate and the governor are listening to the voices of New Yorkers over those of special interests and making ride-sharing a priority,” Anfang said. “It is now time for the Assembly to do the same and ensure that upstate has what New York City and 47 other states have.”