Legislative counsel: Uber cannot operate without failed bill

State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson heard the hallway chatter, so he wanted to know what his lawyer thought: Can Uber operate without the failed regulatory bill so long as a companion insurance measure passed both houses?

The bill that passed the Senate, SB 440, defined a "transportation network company," leading some to believe that was enough for Uber to operate without the regulatory appartus cab and limo companies have. Atkinson, who is on the Commerce Committee and voted for the Uber regulatorythere before opposing it on the floor (in a caucus vote), asked Cousnel Brenda Erdoes what she thought:

"So it is circulating that because SB 440 passed, that opens the door for UBER to operate in the state now, just unregulated?" the senator wrote to his lawyer. " Can someone help us with that information?  Is that accurate?"

Erdoes replied late Thursday: No.

The question is whether this is the last of that issue or if the legal uncertainty -- the AG or a court could weigh in, I suppose -- pushes the political structure (I hear there are conversations....) to resurrect Uber. And SB 440 would still have to pass the Assembly and be signed by the governor for their to be a ripe dispute.

Here's the full Erdoes opinion:


You have asked whether the passage of  SB 440 would provide for or otherwise allow Uber or other TNCs to operate in the State of Nevada essentially without regulation or other oversight. SB 440 recognizes TNC insurance as a new variety of casualty insurance and requires every TNC or driver to continuously provide TNC insurance during any period in which transportation services are provided.  The bill does not remove transportation services from regulation under chapter 704 or 706 of NRS.  Section 6.5 of SB 440 does provide that sections 2 thru 11 of SB 440 do not apply to a person who is regulated pursuant to chapter 704 or 706 of NRS but this provision simply establishes the dominant statute, to account for circumstances under which both apply, the provision does not address or otherwise affect the applicability of chapters 704 and 706 of NRS to TNCs. Therefore, because the definition of  “taxicab” in NRS 706.124(3) would clearly include transportation services and the definition of “public utility” in NRS 704.020(3) may include TNCs, it is the opinion of my office that AB 440, in its current form, does not authorize TNCs to operate in this state without complying with the provisions of chapters 704 or 706 of NRS.  Let me know if you have any questions or would like more info.


NRS 704.020  “Public utility” or “utility” defined.

                1.  “Public utility” or “utility” includes:

                (a) Any person who owns, operates, manages or controls any railroad or part of a railroad as a common carrier in this State, or cars or other equipment used thereon, or bridges, terminals, or sidetracks, or any docks or wharves or storage elevators used in connection therewith, whether or not they are owned by the railroad.

                (b) Any person, other than a provider of commercial mobile radio service, that provides a telecommunication service to the public, but only with regard to those operations which consist of providing a telecommunication service to the public.

                (c) Any provider of commercial mobile radio service, but such providers:

                                (1) Must be regulated in a manner consistent with federal law; and

                                (2) Must not be regulated as telecommunication providers for the purposes of this chapter.

                2.  “Public utility” or “utility” also includes:

                (a) Any plant or equipment, or any part of a plant or equipment, within this State for the production, delivery or furnishing for or to other persons, including private or municipal corporations, heat, gas, coal slurry, light, power in any form or by any agency, water for business, manufacturing, agricultural or household use, or sewerage service, whether or not within the limits of municipalities.

                (b) Any system for the distribution of liquefied petroleum gas to 10 or more users.

Ê The Commission may supervise, regulate and control all such utilities, subject to the provisions of this chapter and to the exclusion of the jurisdiction, regulation and control of such utilities by any municipality, town or village, unless otherwise provided by law.

                3.  The provisions of this chapter and the term “public utility” apply to all railroads, express companies, car companies and all associations of persons, whether or not incorporated, that do any business as a common carrier upon or over any line of railroad within this State.


706.124  “Taxicab” defined.  “Taxicab” means a vehicle which is not operated over a fixed route, is designed or constructed to accommodate and transport not more than six passengers, including the driver, and is:

                1.  Fitted with a taximeter or has some other device, method or system to indicate and determine the passenger fare charged for the distance traveled;

                2.  Used in the transportation of passengers or light express, or both, for which a charge or fee is received; or

                3.  Operated in any service which is held out to the public as being available for the transportation of passengers from place to place in the State of Nevada.