Uber has cut off operations in Kansas after the state legislature overrode the Governor’s veto of a bill that would impose tighter background checks on drivers and increase the insurance the company would need to provide to workers in the state.

The Republican-controlled Kansas Senate has overridden Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of bill that would require every Uber driver to undergo a background check through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and boost their insurance above the $1 million that Uber currently offers to drivers while logged into its network.

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As soon as the Senate voted 34-5 to override the bill – more than enough for the two-thirds majority necessary to overturn the veto – Uber shut down its service in the state.

“We’re saddened by the loss of hundreds of jobs, safe rides and transportation choice for consumers in Kansas,” Uber spokeswoman Lauren Altmin said in a statement.

The override of a Republican Governor’s veto by a Republican Senate says plenty about how contentious the Uber safety debate has become. It’s a massive setback for Brownback, who’s been championing the free market and complaining about over-regulation. While on the other side is Rep. Scott Schwab, another Republican and one of the bill’s primary backers.

“I think the governor’s veto was about Uber. For us it’s not,” Schwab told the Kansas City Star. “And we’re not asking for much. I mean, in Colorado next to us, they go through their bureau of investigation and Uber didn’t leave there. This is a new marketplace and we have to make sure just like everybody else on the road they have protections.”


Contact the author at damon@jalopnik.com.
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