Limo Drivers Follow Up Legal Victory With Legislative Win

John Kramer
John Kramer · June 15, 2001

Washington, D.C.-Nevada limousine entrepreneurs can finally heave a sigh of relief. The Nevada legislative session has closed, and SB 576—the proposal to further restrict the ability of entrepreneurs to enter the limousine business—did not make it into the statute books.

As soon as Judge Ron Parraguirre announced his decision on May 16 that the Transportation Services Authority had violated the constitutional rights of three applicants for limousine licenses, the TSA and other large limousine companies went to the legislature trying to get new laws passed to further restrict entry into the limousine market.

The proposed law would have started an “allocation” system, meaning that there would be a fixed number of limousine licenses, and those licenses would be “allocated” based upon already existing market share. In other words, the big companies would continue to control the market, and the small ones would be forced to stay small. Any change in the status quo would be at the sole, unfettered discretion of the TSA.

Not surprisingly, independent limousine operators were none too happy to hear about this proposal. Ed Wheeler and Rey Vinole, two applicants Judge Parraguirre found had been treated unconstitutionally by the TSA, as well as Clark Neily, one of their lawyers in the successful court case, went to Carson City to meet with legislators and testify at hearings.

“SB 576 is bad for entrepreneurs, bad for tourists and bad for Nevada,” Neily told legislators.

“The bill died, then revived, then died again,” said Institute for Justice attorney Dana Berliner, who also argued the case for the limousine entrepreneurs. “For a while it looked like it could once again come back to life in the Special Session ordered by Governor Guinn. Now that the session is over, we can finally say that the bill did not pass. Independent limo drivers are safe for another two years.”