Quick action from lobbyists amends a proposed bill so that chauffeurs picking up clients at San Francisco International Airport won’t get busted for solicitation.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A proposed bill making its way through California’s state legislature now carries an amendment that makes sure chauffeurs who hold up signs for clients at San Francisco International Airport and answer questions about their services from curious passers-by don’t get charged with a misdemeanor for solicitation on airport property.
The amendment was added to the Assembly Bill (AB) 1885 during a hearing of the California State Assembly’s Public Safety Committee Tuesday after lobbyists from the GREATER CALIFORNIA LIVERY ASSOCIATION persuaded lawmakers to include the amendment.
At issue is an anti-solicitation rule at the San Francisco International Airport that bans anyone from selling and/or offering unauthorized products and services on airport property. Violators are charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail. The current law, however, exempts charter-party carriers, such as luxury limousine operators, licensed by the California Public Utilities Commission. SFO officials, who are sponsoring AB 1885, wanted to strike that exemption from the proposed bill.
The exemption itself has always been irrelevant since licensed legal operators and chauffeurs handle only pre-arranged transportation service that does not involve any selling or solicitous activity on airport property. The GCLA generally supports anti-solicitation measures since they deter illegal limousine operators trying to peddle their services on airport property.
But Gregg Cook, a lobbyist with Government Affairs Consulting of Sacramento, the firm retained by the GCLA, became concerned that the airport’s habitually over-zealous law enforcement would nevertheless find ways to charge legitimate chauffeurs with misdemeanor violations if the exemption were removed.
Without the exemption, airport law enforcement could potentially cite a chauffeur waiting for a client who holds up a sign with his company’s logo and the client’s name, claiming it is a form of advertising, hence solicitation, Cook said. A chauffeur also could potentially be cited for simply answering questions from curious travelers wanting to know about the chauffeur’s transportation services, and then handing out a business card.
The GCLA's concerns about such enforcement behavior have intensified since 2008 when a chauffeur working for a Bay Area-based operator was cited because of a sign he carried at SFO. The chauffeur, who was waiting for a client on a delayed flight, needed to use the restroom, so he leaned his sign bearing his company’s logo and the client name against a wall and went into the restroom. When the chauffeur emerged from the restroom, an airport police officer had torn the sign into pieces, claiming it was a form of illegal advertising and solicitation.
Given such concerns, Cook and his fellow lobbyists this week asked AB 1885’s author, Rep. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo County, to include the detailed language in the amendment that defines solicitation and then specifically exempts for-hire licensed charter-party carriers, such as chauffeured transportation operators. If not, Cook said the GCLA would oppose the bill and the lobbying team would line-up the votes to kill it. Hill agreed to the language.
The bill now must spend a few months going through another Assembly committee, a Senate committee, and then to the floors of both the Assembly and the Senate for final votes before being signed by the Governor.
— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine
The leading hot button issue of the driver shortage spurred some lively discussions at the annual trade show.
The Baywatch star's vivid takedown clip of Uber and TNCs scores high on creative excellence.
One industry leader says operators are concerned about contradictory language in a package of proposed safety reforms.
The annual fly-in legislative visit to Capitol Hill will bring together leaders and members of motorcoach industry groups.
No agency has explained what caused the vehicle to crash in the update New York countryside.
The action came as it was publicly revealed the operation involved in the fatal stretch crash had repeatedly skirted or violated rules.
Editorial/commentary: In the aftermath of the accident that killed 20 people, about the last thing one would have expected was a turf war.
A look back at the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. in nine years, which remains unsolved.
Investigators are "gravely concerned" the district attorney's lack of response is impeding their ability to carry out their duties.
eNews Exclusive: The Colorado Limousine Association stepped up to stop the city of Aspen from approving a harmful ride-hailing bill.
They're still employees, the second highest court in the land reaffirms.
A recent investigation reveals a few rotten bad apples in the industry mix.
The Greater Orlando Limousine Association held a festive meeting to close out the year.
The Limousine Safety Modernization Act would require modified passenger vehicles to follow the same rules as others.
The best online networker to find quality affiliates worldwide and market your company.
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.