Guinn vetoes AB505 over cab drivers' tips

Gov. Kenny Guinn on Friday vetoed legislation designed to move the responsibilities of the Transportation Authority back under the Public Utilities Commission.

Guinn said he objected to an amendment put on AB505 during the last two days of the Legislature which bars cab drivers from taking any tips from businesses for bringing them customers.

The amendment was aimed at stopping cab drivers from steering customers to specific clubs and restaurants which pay them. Detractors call the practice diverting customers who may have originally wanted to go elsewhere.

The language bars cabbies from accepting "a tip, gift, gratuity, money, fee or any other valuable compensation" from anyone who is licensed by a city, county or other governing body." That would include not only bars but restaurants, casinos and - not incidentally - licensed brothels.

It's common practice for brothel operators to give cabbies a healthy cut of the action for bringing paying customers. George Flint, who represents licensed brothels in the state, said he thinks the provision could be an unconstitutional restriction. He also pointed out it would be practically impossible to enforce.

Guinn said his problem is there was no open discussion of the provision and no opportunity for the public to comment.

"I know the members of our Legislature well and I don't think they were all aware of the consequences of this bill," said Guinn. "My hope is that in the future we can more thoroughly anticipate the far-reaching ramifications of amendments that are added at the last minute to certain bills."

The veto, however, means the abolishment of the Transportation Services Authority and restoration of those regulatory responsibilities within the PUC will not occur this biennium.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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