RALEIGH – A bill regulating “transportation network companies” such as Uber and Lyft at the state level cleared the House Finance Committee Thursday, putting it one step closer to becoming law.

The bill, which sets minimum liability insurance requirements and requires companies to conduct background checks on drivers, is expected to be on the House floor next week.

The Senate has approved Senate Bill 541. If the House approves the measure without no further changes, it then would go to Gov. Pat McCrory.

“It’s $5,000 per year,” Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, the sponsor of the bill, said of the annual fee that companies would be required to pay. The fee would be charged to the parent company rather than individual drivers, he said.

Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, asked if the fee was in line with what taxi companies are charged.

“Cab companies typically are regulated locally,” McKissick responded. “There was a bill passed several years ago that exempted TNCs from being regulated on a local level.”

McKissick said local governments would not be able to add fees to transportation network companies. However, he said, the bill provides a framework for contracts between such companies and airports.

The minimum insurance requirement would cover liabilities of $50,000 for one person, $100,000 for two or more people, and $50,000 for property damage when a driver for one of the companies is driving around awaiting a passenger. When the driver has a passenger, the company will be required to have $1.5 million in insurance to cover death, injury, or property damage.

The bill clarifies that drivers for the companies are considered independent contractors and not employees of the company. Cars used by such drivers would not be required to bear a “for-hire” license tag and would have to maintain annual safety inspections.

Barry Smith (@Barry_Smith) is an associate editor at Carolina Journal.