California Legislature Still Debating E-Scooter Regulations

New Law Not Expected until 2020

E-Scooter Regulations The California Assembly has put two different bills aimed at regulating the so-called “micro-mobility” industry on hold until at least next January, as legislators gather more information about potential concerns and options. Assembly Bill 1112 and Assembly Bill 1286 are both “in a holding pattern,” according to one of the authors of AB 1112, assembly-woman Laura Friedman.

AB 1112 gives California municipalities the authority to prohibit the use of e-scooters if they can demonstrate legitimate concerns about potential violation of the California Environmental Quality Act. As recently as two months ago, an earlier version of the same bill would have banned cities from taking such action. The current version of the bill gives cities the right to establish maximum numbers of e-scooters, charge and collect fees from vendors, and even mandate that operators make scooters available in certain neighborhoods.

Acknowledging that there’s not enough information to make a good decision now, the California Senate Government and Finance Committee has called for at least two “informational” hearings this fall, where more can be learned about issues such as liability, data collection, and shared mobility.

Currently, the use of e-scooters is governed on a municipal level, with a wide array of regulatory measures in place. Many such regulations already contain provisions similar to those in the proposed state-wide legislation, including caps on fleet sizes, access in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and data collection.

Much of the debate in the California legislature has centered on the data issues. Most municipalities that already have e-scooter regulations require real-time sharing of data about scooter locations, maintenance and other issues. E-scooter companies say some of those requirements pose potential legal concerns about right to privacy.

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