Members of the Chicago City Council's Progressive Reform Caucus say their attempt to advance ride-share regulations aimed at "enhancing public safety" was blocked in committee Monday.
Aldermen voted 6-5 in the council's license and consumer protection committee against the proposed legislation.
The proposal, spearheaded by Alds. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and John Arena (45th), sought to require "restricted chauffeurs' licenses" for ride-share drivers.
"Obtaining that license will require drivers to meet a number of qualifications that will better ensure the safety of passengers, including more stringent background checks that include fingerprinting," reads a news release from the Progressive Reform Caucus. "It would also bar any driver who has been convicted of drug sales or possession, driving under the influence, and criminal sexual abuse within five years. Other cities such as New York have also instituted similar measures requiring heightened background checks to address public safety concerns without market backlash."
Progressive aldermen proposed the measure in light of news that the accused Kalamazoo mass shooter was an Uber driver, who was working the day of the shootings last month.
"It is unfortunate that our colleagues blocked this common-sense measure to make sure the thousands of Chicagoans who take rideshares each day can take some manner of assurance that they are safe getting into the car of a total stranger," Arena said in a statement. "Given the problems some of these rideshare companies have seen due to a lack of simple background checks and safety measures in recent months, including, most notably, the Uber shooter incident last month, we have an obligation to hold these companies accountable and make sure Chicagoans are safe."