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Negotiations over pay rates for Uber and Lyft drivers are still in flux, despite a compromise brokered last week between state DFL leaders and the Minneapolis City Council.

House Majority Leader Jamie Long, DFL-Minneapolis, said he'll introduce an amendment that would replace the compromise pay rates with blanks in the House bill. Long told reporters on Thursday that the amendment showed negotiations were ongoing with the governor's office and the companies, but he did not commit to lower pay rates.

"If that's where we can reach agreement, that's where we land," Long said of the previously proposed rates of $1.27 per mile and 49 cents per minute.

The House had been set to take up the contentious bill that would raise pay rates for people who drive for apps like Uber and Lyft, but it was not clear when the bill would come up for a floor vote.

Both companies have said they will leave Minnesota if the bill becomes law with those rates.

As the House debated other issues early Friday afternoon, Uber and Lyft drivers marched around the Capitol rotunda, chanting for fair pay.

Uber and Lyft drivers rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Friday, as time is running out for a vote on the bill before Monday's deadline to adjourn.
Uber and Lyft drivers rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Friday, as time is running out for a vote on the bill before Monday's deadline to adjourn.

Leila Navidi, Star Tribune

The amendment comes after two alternatives to Uber and Lyft debuted in Minneapolis this month, and as the Minneapolis City Council signaled its willingness to lower pay rates in the ordinance it passed in March.

The City Council will vote on the lower rates next week, but those numbers are still far higher than the companies' proposed rates.

Gov. Tim Walz vetoed a measure last year that included higher per-minute and per-mile rates, and has not agreed to the proposed rates that DFL legislative leaders worked out with the Minneapolis City Council.

"We want to make sure people are compensated fairly but we want to make sure these services remain here," Walz said Friday.

But Walz said he did not agree with Long and others who have said they think the companies are bluffing.

"I don't ascribe to the thought that they're not leaving," Walz said.

A study ordered by the state Department of Labor and Industry estimated that, for drivers in the Twin Cities metro area, it would take 89 cents per mile and 49 cents per minute to approximate the state's minimum wage, or $1.21 per mile to provide drivers with more benefits.

The range was higher for drivers in greater Minnesota, with the study's suggested per-mile rate ranging from $1.16 to $1.40 because drivers tend to travel farther between fares.

The DFL legislative leaders backing the bill have said their proposed $1.27 per-mile rate was an effort to split the difference between metro and outstate rates.

Uber and Lyft have not agreed to either rate, with Uber proposing 68 cents per mile and 41 cents per minute. As the bill advances, Uber is using its app to ask riders to lobby their legislators to oppose the bill.

Staff writer Ryan Faircloth contributed to this report.