AustinMusicPeople has always worked for Austinites. The organization was formed in 2011 in response to the movement to end live music two hours earlier than usual. AMP is a group that works to further the interests of the artistic community and ensure fair treatment to its members. Their website lists their goals as vigilant advocacy, civil engagement and industry and economic research. In times recent their scope has broadened to encompass more than just the music community, so when it became known that new legislature would inhibit the operations of TNC’s like Lyft and Uber, naturally AMP was moved to action.
AustinMusicPeople joined a coalition consisting of Uber, Lyft, ATX Safer Streets, the Old Austin Neighborhood Association, TechNet, Engage ATX and NetChoice, all of whom produced the website ridesharingworks.com. Our special interest is the activism displayed by AMP and the work they have done to ensure ridesharing groups stay in Austin.
Last year the Austin City Council announced that they would ratify legislature that would require ridesharing organizations to implement mandatory fingerprint scan background checks for all their employees. In response, Lyft and Uber made it clear that there would be backlash, threatening to leave the city if these laws went into effect. The Ridesharing Works coalition, in response, organized a petition to fight the city council on the issue. Since then, the petition has garnered 65,103 signatures. That’s more than have ever voted for any Austin mayor and twice as many as any vote count for a 2014 City Council District election, says ridesharingworks.com.
AustinMusicPeople Executive Director Jennifer Houlihan delivered a speech to City Council Jan. 19, the day that she turned in her petition signatures. “They want flexible, part-time jobs that allow them to afford to still live here and to raise a family and to pursue the glorious and odd and creative passions that keep Austin weird — and feed our souls,” she said, referring to Austin citizens.
“Ridesharing works for Austin,” she said. Because of the general consensus on this declaration, the Austin City Council will either have to put the decision up to a vote or enact the “common sense ridesharing laws” that the petitions have called for. If the city council chooses the former, the vote will held May 7.