Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Davette Blalock: " I am sticking to my guns."

Davette Blalock
Davette Blalock, the sponsor of the legislation in the Metro Council which would undo Metro's limousine price fixing bill designed to protect the established luxury limousine companies, has agreed to defer the bill thirty days. 

"I was asked to defer this because several people wanted to make other limo changes and the council wanted it all on one bill," said Davette.  "The Budget and Finance Committee was going to defer it if I didn't.  So, I am sticking to my guns but I will give them another 30 days to figure out what else is wrong with the current legislation."

 While I am disappointed to see the bill deferred, this is not necessarily bad news. At least the bill has not been killed. In speaking with Davette, she told me that none of those calling for a deferral said they were against the bill, they just wanted more study and input. While I have been a cheerleader for this bill because it would essentially undo the limousine price-fixing imposed in a June 2010 bill passed by the Council, I myself do not think BL 2011-49 is a perfect bill.  I would prefer a bill that went further in deregulating taxi and limousine service.  There are several aspects of the bill I do not like, but have been supporting it because it much, much better than what we have.  One council member I spoke to said she was opposed to the bill because it did not go far enough. Maybe, even a better bill will emerge.

I think Davette had no choice but to defer the bill.  To go against a Committee's recommendation to defer and push for approval would have most likely led to the council following the recommendation of the Committees and deferring anyway. With a forty member council, the council has to have a strong committee system and individual Council Members have to respect that system. 

Davette said that some time in early January, there would be a public meeting to gather input from other interested parties. Please do not let down your guard. Please push your council member to support this bill or a modified version of this bill that is even better. It is simply wrong for Metro government to act in the interest of the luxury limousine providers and protect them from competition.

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