Democratic legislators are criticizing Gov. Tim Walz for vetoing a bill that would have given pay raises and job protections to rideshare drivers.
Walz issued his first-ever veto on the bill Thursday and said he would create a commission to study driver wages and working conditions, with the expectation it will recommend similar legislation for next year. The governor said in a statement that rideshare drivers "deserve fair wages and safe working conditions," but "this is not the right bill to achieve these goals."
Members of the Legislature's People of Color and Indigenous Caucus denounced the governor's veto in a statement Thursday.
"The governor's veto allows for the further exploitation of these hardworking Minnesotans," the caucus said. "By vetoing the bill, Governor Walz discredited the amount of work legislators, community leaders, and advocates put in to ensure the bill was reflective of worker needs and stakeholders' concerns."
Walz announced his veto hours after Uber said it would pull out of all Minnesota markets except the Twin Cities metro area if the bill was signed.
The vetoed bill would have required drivers to be paid $1.45 a mile and 34 cents per minute. Uber and Lyft said they would have to increase ride prices by 50% if the bill became law.
Sen. Omar Fateh, the Minneapolis Democrat who sponsored the bill, tweeted Thursday that the governor's veto was an example of "the power corporations hold on our government despite the [DFL] trifecta."
"While Uber and Lyft had access to the administration and elected officials, I want to make it clear that not once has the administration reached out to the drivers," Fateh said. "The fight is not over, and I promise you I won't back down. This will be my top priority going in to next session."