Regional limousine associations have come a long way in the last few years. Once they thrived in times of crisis and suffered from lack of support at other times. Now, nearly every major market area has an association that enjoys consistent support from its members.
These associations made many significant contributions to the industry in 1990. In the New York area, associations and their attorneys worked with the Taxi & Limousine Commission on the difficult task of stopping gypsy livery operators while maintaining fair access to the city for companies based in neighboring areas. Associations also worked to provide better limousine access through the crowded streets of Manhattan as well as to improve vehicle licensing and inspection procedures.
In many other parts of the country, the emphasis is on shifting industry regulation from local to state levels. In Washington State, regulatory control of the limousine industry was removed from municipalities and given to the state’s Utilities and Transportation Committee. In California, associations aided the passage of a state assembly bill increasing the regulatory role of the state Public Utilities Commission and, most importantly, prohibiting cities from requiring a business license from companies based outside their boundaries.
Because limousine companies operate over broad geographic areas, licensing by individual cities or counties often becomes absurdly complex and costly. Hopefully, associations will succeed in bringing effective state regulation to Indiana. Florida, Ohio, and other areas where local regulators now require license upon license upon license.
Burdensome as local regulation may be to our industry, however, few states have the resources to adequately protect the public from unlicensed, uninsured, and unsafe limousine companies. In 1991, regional associations must support realistic state regulations, effective enforcement programs, and the licensing fees necessary to sustain them.
One important congressional note from 1990 was the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which provides a “national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” The ADA’s employment provisions take effect on July 26, 1992 for employers with 25 or more employees, and two years thereafter for employers with 15 or more employees Employers will be prohibited from discriminating against a “qualified individual with a disability” in job application, hiring, compensation, training, advancement, discharge, and other terms or conditions of employment.
Why not begin investigating how the ADA will affect your business... and adapt your policies to reflect the spirit and letter of this legislation? As attorney Jeffrey L. Berger points out in a recent newsletter from Grant Thornton Accountants and Management Consultants, “With proper planning and attention to the requirements of the ADA and local disability laws, employers can reduce litigation, avoid liability, and successfully use a heretofore untapped segment of the workforce.”
We encourage employment of the disabled and would like to hear about your experiences in this regard. All the best in 1991!