ALBANY - New York lawmakers voted this week to block low-level sex offenders from driving for companies like Uber and Lyft, closing a loophole in the state's soon-to-take-effect law regulating ride-hailing.
The state's ride-hailing law, which is set to take effect June 29, blocks Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from driving for the companies, which allow users to summon a driver with the push of a button on their smartphone.
The Legislature voted late Tuesday to expand the law to also block Level 1 offenders -- the lowest level -- for as long as they are listed on the state's registry.
Lawmakers first proposed the change a few weeks after the ride-hailing law was approved.
“To think that consumers could unknowingly get into the private vehicle of a registered sex offender because of a loophole in the New York state law is unconscionable," Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, Dutchess County, said in a statement.
The Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved the ride-hailing law in the state's $153 billion budget in April, setting up regulations and insurance-law changes that will allow Uber and Lyft to expand statewide.
The two companies, which are the giants of the industry, have submitted applications to operate to the state Department of Motor Vehicles and plan to launch statewide on June 29, the first day they can.
A DMV spokesman said both applications are under review.
The bill approved Tuesday came in the waning days of its 2017 session, which is scheduled to end Wednesday.
It now heads now to Cuomo's office, which will have to review hundreds of bills passed in recent weeks.
He will have 10 days to sign or veto it after it's formally sent to his desk.
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