Sharing Economy Legislation Trends in 2017

Posted on 01-30-2017 by
Tags: sharing economy , legislative monitoring , legislative trends , State Net


The sharing economy and collaborative consumption promise disruptive change to a number of sectors and industries. The extent to which these promises are fulfilled depends a lot on the regulatory climate in Washington and the states. The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have signaled their desire to deregulate economic activity. Will these economic concepts flourish in this environment and do protectionist forces exist that can retard its growth?

In “Legislative Preview: An Early Look at Opportunities & Risks for 2017,” a panel of federal and state business law experts offer opinion and insight on legislative and regulatory proposals to shape this nascent economy. Produced by LexisNexis® State Net®, a leader in legislative and regulatory tracking and analysis, this webinar is complimentary to receive with a simple sign-up.

Download the full webinar recording free

Sharing Economy and Collaborative Consumption

Airbnb and Uber are just two notable examples of the sharing economy. But the breadth and depth of this sharing economy is much larger than ride-sharing services and short-term living accommodations. And the very nature of the sharing economy and collaborative consumption ensures that models of proven value are rapidly adopted. Legislators and regulators can end up with nothing to do but acknowledge a fait accompli and the need to perpetually play regulatory catch-up.

Regulation Versus Innovation?

Regulation does not always equate to some broad notion of public interest. Regulation, or deregulation, can offer a competitive advantage to new or entrenched market participants. There are many areas of public concern attendant to the sharing economy/collaborative consumption models. Some of these focus on the externalities of these models, like who pays for harm caused by a shared automobile or bicycle, or the noise, traffic and costs created by short-term lodging services in traditionally residential neighborhoods.

“You see a lot of legislative attempts to try to regulate. In some cases, it's very legitimate policy grounds to make sure that there's built-in privacy and security. But in other cases, it's a reaction to concerns of an impacted industry who is seeking protectionist legislation. So you have to be very careful. The attempts at legislation can be pro-competitive or anti-competitive, depending on how they're positioned.”

Anna Davis, Director of Government Relations, National Governors Association.

An early contest to regulate the short-term rental industry in San Francisco—by ballot initiative—was decided in favor of Airbnb and the “host” population. But this was just the opening salvo in what promises to be a protracted legislative campaign in many jurisdictions, including, again, San Francisco.

But other areas of concern involve only the actors in the provision of the economy: the owners of the business and the workers who provide the services. Uber, for example, has been the target of several lawsuits by drivers who claim to be company employees, not independent contractors. Forward-thinking companies are now engaging lawmakers to pass model legislation that would ensure their workers are treated as independent contractors.

Many state legislatures already have started their new sessions. State Net enables robust federal and state legislative monitoring and can help you follow these sessions with a free, clear and concise chart that includes session calendars, estimated bill volumes and more.

Get the free 2017 legislative session chart

Change Can Happen Fast

The advent of a new administration—particularly one fronting majorities in Congress—presents the prospect of breathtaking change to a multitude of policies. And the states will look to supplement and respond to these initiatives with their own legislation. “Legislative Preview: An Early Look at Opportunities & Risks for 2017,” offers a timely glimpse of the shape of things to come. Get it today.

Download the full webinar recording free

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