A bill setting up state regulation of transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft cleared a House Committee on Tuesday.

The House Transportation Committee gave Senate Bill 541 a favorable report. The next stop is the House Finance Committee. The Senate has passed the bill.

Rep. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg, the House handler of the bill, said the legislation is needed to have uniform regulations statewide and prevent cities from setting up different sets of rules. He said some cities — including those running commercial airports — wanted to impose similar regulations on the ride-sharing companies that they do on taxi operators. Those tougher rules could prevent ride-sharing companies from transporting passengers to and from municipally owned airports.

“The purpose here in a nutshell is you don’t use the regulations for railroads to regulate the airline industry,” Brawley told the committee. “We want to allow it to happen in a way that is protective of the public.

The bill would require transportation network companies to pay $5,000 per year to the state. That fee is per company, not per driver.

The bill would require companies to have insurance on drivers, said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, the sponsor of the bill. 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 but not transporting a passenger, McKissick said. When a passenger is on board, the company will be required to have $1.5 million in insurance to cover death, injury, or property damage.

Public airports in the state would be required to allow transportation network companies access to passengers at the airport, similar to how they allow access to taxis. The bill also would clarify 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. Cars would have to maintain annual safety inspections and companies would have to conduct background checks on contracted drivers.

A spokeswoman for Uber said the company supports the bill, adding that it codifies policies already practiced by the industry.

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