Arizona Takes Executive Action on Sharing Economy

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced the creation of a special council to examine state regulation of the so-called sharing economy and how the state can better position itself to take advantage of the growing sector.

by / January 21, 2016
In 2015, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill allowing ride sharing companies to operate in the state. Courtesy - Office of the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey

During his State of the State address Jan. 11, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced the creation of a council to examine how the state will approach the sharing economy.

The executive action comes as many states and municipalities throughout the country struggle with the inclusion and regulation of so-called sharing economy ventures like Airbnb, Lyft and Uber.

The sharing economy loosely refers to services provided by other people and are often facilitated by technology companies, which supply a management platform and communication route between service providers and service seekers.  

According to the executive order signed last week, an estimated $335 billion is expected to come from the sharing sector worldwide over the course of the next decade. At the moment, around $15 billion is attributed to this sector in the global economy, according to the order.

Ducey said in his address that he wants to better position the state to take advantage of the benefits  coming out of the rapidly growing economic sector.

“As our economy advances, our government and our laws need to modernize too. Arizona should be to the sharing economy, what Texas is to oil and what Silicon Valley used to be to the tech industry,” he said. “Moments ago, I signed an executive order creating the governor’s council on the sharing economy. Its mission: Stop shackling innovation, and instead — put the cuffs on out-of-touch regulators. I want startups in the sharing economy to know: California may not want you, but Arizona does.”

Under the order, Ducey will appoint a five-member panel consisting of private-sector leaders, free enterprise advocates and small business people familiar with the sharing economy landscape. The council will be tasked with identifying barriers to growth, as well as providing legislative recommendations to improve the state’s lawmaking process.

Annie Dockendorff, senior press secretary for Ducey’s office, said part of the governor’s interest in bringing sharing economy opportunities to the state came with the 2015 Super Bowl and a plan on the part of some officials to crack down on Uber and Lyft drivers.

“When he took office in January of last year, he noticed that some of our laws in Arizona weren’t exactly keeping up with the economy around us,” she said. “The biggest example I can give you of that was just days before the Super Bowl was set to be held in our state, the governor’s office got word that some overzealous state regulators were planning a sting on Uber and Lyft drivers, and were basically going to shut them down before the biggest weekend in Arizona.”

Ducey later went on to sign legislation that allowed ridesharing drivers to operate alongside the state’s taxi drivers, Dockendorff said, adding that the governor is dedicated to improving opportunities for creation and innovation, and laying the groundwork for job growth in the state.

“The idea behind the governor’s executive order on the sharing economy is that we’re not done yet. As our economy advances, our laws need to modernize too,” she said. “He’s just trying to take steps that kind of let these innovative companies — that really are the wave of the future — thrive.”

Eyragon Eidam Assistant News Editor

Eyragon Eidam is the assistant news editor for Government Technology magazine, and covers legislation, social media and public safety. He can be reached at eeidam@erepublic.com.