Barbara Shelly

Missouri lawmakers give Uber the great seal of approval — literally

Uber and other ride-hailing services want a statewide regulatory system in Missouri.
Uber and other ride-hailing services want a statewide regulatory system in Missouri. File photo

Uber and Republican leaders in the Missouri legislature are made for one another.

They deplore regulations. They love lobbyists; Uber hired 11 of them to convince the General Assembly that Kansas City’s vehicle-for-hire rules are too restrictive.

But seriously, do they have to be so obvious about the love fest?

Some lawmakers and observers were a little startled today to observe Uber’s name sharing space with the Missouri State seal during a press conference.

As you an see in the above tweet from one of Uber’s lobbyists, the state seal has been placed beside the Uber name on a placard presented in front of a podium in the Capitol’s venerated Thomas Hart Benton room.

That’s GOP House Speaker Todd Richardson at the podium, speaking in favor of a bill that would create a statewide regulatory system for transportation companies like Uber and Lyft.

Taxi companies could also opt out of local regulations and apply for a permit with the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Never mind that law enforcement has said the proposed bill will compromise public safety by allowing the companies to hire third parties for background checks of drivers. Or that the state legislature is once again trampling over the rights of local governments to decide what is best for their communities and citizens.

By the looks of this press conference, Uber seems destined to get its way.

That’s caused some people to wonder what other logos might fit with the legislature’s preferences. Anheuser Busch, maybe? Or how about pairing Rex Sinquefield’s mug alongside the state seal?

Or, this:

Next time, lawmakers, try to at least make a pretense of looking objective while you consider legislation.