City council approves Airbnb, ride share regulations

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CHICAGO -- The Wrigley Field Plaza.  Ride-sharing.  Airbnb.

Those were among the controversial issues on the agenda at Chicago's City Council today.

As for the Wrigley Field Plaza, Alcohol sales will be cut-off one hour after the end of day games, and right after a night game ends.

The council approved rules to address complaints that short-term rental companies like Airbnb are turning residential buildings into virtual hotels and party hotspots.

Council members passed the measure Wednesday by a vote of 43-7 after weeks of debate and a compromise that failed to fully satisfy critics on either side.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office says the regulations are the first in the nation to require such companies to regularly share data on rental listings with the city so it can check if they comply with the law.

It also imposes new licensing fees to fund enforcement and services for the homeless, and sets up a complaint hotline.

Opponents argue the new rules fall short.

Airbnb says its services boost neighborhood spending and provide homeowners with extra cash.

Also Wednesdaym Chicago aldermen passed less restrictive regulations on ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft after the member who proposed the rules dropped an insistence on fingerprint background checks.

The City Council passed the measure 36 to 12 after months of debate and intense companies lobbying.

Alderman Anthony Beale's original proposal would have required drivers to be fingerprinted as part of a criminal background check. Critics said the companies already carry out background checks and the extra requirements would discourage or unfairly bar many from becoming drivers.

Beale agreed to delay fingerprinting for at least six months to allow more time to study that requirement.

The regulations passed Wednesday also require drivers to take a one-day course that can be completed online to get a license.

Aldermen also approved an amendment to the 2003 Human Rights ordinance, which prohibits private places, such as hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores from requiring transgender people to show their IDs in order to use a public bathroom.

 

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