A Missouri lawmaker says Uber predicts they’ll add about ten-thousand new Missouri drivers, if his bill involving transportation network companies passes.

Representative Kirk Mathews (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

State Rep. Kirk Mathews (R-Eureka) has filed legislation to create a statewide regulatory platform for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

“If you sign up to be an Uber driver, depending on where you live, you might start your day in one county and be perfectly fine from a regulatory perspective, but then be in violation of some ordinance or regulation or be illegal if you cross into a different municipality or a different county,” says Mathews.

Mathews has filed the legislation for the second straight year.

“Uber predicted that if this bill passes, in the first year, they will add in the neighborhood of ten thousand drivers,” Mathews says. “That’s ten thousand small businesses, ten thousand independent contractors.”

Mathews says Uber currently operates in Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield and Columbia. He tells Missourinet Uber is looking to expand.

“They’re looking at places like St. Charles and St. Charles County, which is huge,” says Mathews. “They’re looking at Jefferson City, they’re looking at St. Joe (St. Joseph) Missouri, they’re looking at Cape Girardeau. They’re looking at a ton of new markets across the state.”

Mathews says his bill is intended to create opportunities for drivers across Missouri to start their own business.

Mathews says taxicab companies opposed his legislation last year.

Some legislative critics of Mathews’ 2016 legislation wanted fingerprint background checks on Uber drivers. His 2016 bill passed in the House, but not the Senate.

His HB 130 would require a TNC to conduct a local and national criminal background check for each driver applicant, and would prevent cities from passing additional regulations, that go further than the bill.

Mathews’ bill would also prevent municipalities from requiring a license for drivers.

The 2017 Missouri legislative session begins Wednesday at noon at the Statehouse in Jefferson City.