Minnesota lawmakers reach Uber, Lyft deal to raise pay for drivers

UPDATE: Uber representatives responded to the recent developments at the Minnesota State Capitol in a news release sent Sunday morning.

Uber Senior Director of Public Policy and Communications Josh Gold released a statement, saying, "We applaud the tens of thousands of riders and drivers who sent close to 100,000 emails to legislators - your voices were heard. While the coming price increases may hurt riders and drivers alike, we will be able to continue to operate across the State under the compromise brokered by the Governor." 

The company also claims that the legislation was based on a "flawed study" and that it does not include other costs such as per trip fee, paid sick time or unemployment insurance. 

Lyft representatives responded to the deal with the following statement: "We have long supported a minimum earnings standard and increasing driver pay in smart, deliberate ways, which is why earlier this year we announced a new commitment where drivers will always make at least 70% of the weekly rider fares after external fees. This legislation builds on those efforts and marks an important compromise that allows Minnesota rideshare drivers to keep earning with Lyft. Through direct engagement with all stakeholders, we have found enough common ground to balance a new pay increase for drivers with what riders can afford to pay and preserve the service. We look forward to continuing to serve both riders and drivers across the state for the foreseeable future."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: The Minnesota State Capitol was active overnight Saturday into Sunday morning as lawmakers passed multiple bills, including one designed to raise pay for Uber and Lyft drivers

Gov. Tim Walz and other DFL leaders announced a deal on a bill that would raise the pay for drivers with a 20% rate increase. This means drivers will now make $1.28 per mile and 31 cents per minute.

The agreement also preempts a recent ordinance from the Minneapolis City Council. 

The lead sponsor of the bill said the move was a long time coming.

"This damn bill," said Sen. Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis), followed by laughs from supporters at the podium. "Oh, man. It's been two long years." 

However, GOP lawmakers criticized Democrats for how the bill's legislative process happened, saying they were largely left out.

"The reality is, this is a day where we should've been doing work, but we were not," said Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks). "We were trying to figure out what was happening while we were being kept in the dark the entire time."

Gov. Walz also spoke during the night, emphasizing the importance of the deal and praising lawmakers for not wavering throughout the proceedings.

"This is hard," Gov. Walz said. "No one else has been able to do this in the country, and I think what you heard here, they set a standard in this across the country, making sure that folks are able to get their rides when they need them, but that the drivers are being paid accordingly to make that happen."

The legislative session ends Sunday at midnight. 

Related coverage of the legislature's sprint to the finish can be found here

Raw video of the announcement can be viewed below: