Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 101383
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File Number: 101383 File Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: 10-35 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: AMEND CH 31 TAXICAB SHALL NOT REFUSE PERSON SERVICE ANIMAL Introduced: 5/26/2010
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 6/3/2010 Agenda Item Number: 7B
Notes: Title: ORDINANCE RELATING TO FOR-HIRE MOTOR VEHICLES; AMENDING CHAPTER 31 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO PROVIDE THAT NO CHAUFFEUR SHALL REFUSE OR NEGLECT TO TRANSPORT ANY PERSON TRAVELING WITH A SERVICE ANIMAL; PROVIDING FOR DEFINITION OF SERVICE ANIMAL, PENALTIES, SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE (SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 100931)
Indexes: ANIMALS
  FOR HIRE VEHICLES
Sponsors: Sally A. Heyman, Prime Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Carlos A. Gimenez, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 6/3/2010 7B Adopted P
REPORT: First Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams read the foregoing ordinance into the record. Assistant County Attorney Gerald Sanchez advised Commissioner Heyman had requested that the foregoing ordinance be amended to change the language defining service animal found on handwritten page 6 to say “only include dogs and not any other animals.” Commissioner Heyman noted that the definition of service animal was presently under review at the state and federal levels. Commissioner Heyman commented she was under the understanding there were other definitions of service animals; and she noted enforcement of the proposed ordinance would be difficult. She noted the foregoing item intended to provide service dogs and their owners with the ability to ride as passengers in for-hire vehicles such as taxis. Commissioner Heyman requested feedback on the state and federal rulings once the information was made available. She noted she would like to rectify the problem once the outcomes of those rulings were known. Assistant County Attorney Sanchez explained the definition of a service animal and advised there was no legal obligation to delete the term referring to what qualified as a service animal. Commissioner Heyman advised that she would not amend the foregoing proposed ordinance inasmuch as it would be applicable if the animal was registered as a service animal and would allow for better compliance. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Board proceeded to vote on the foregoing ordinance as presented.

County Attorney 5/26/2010 Assigned Gerald K. Sanchez

Government Operations Committee 5/11/2010 1G3 AMENDED Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation with committee amendment(s) P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Geri Bonzon-Keenan read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Chairman Gimenez opened the public hearing. The following persons appeared in support of this ordinance: 1) Ms. Elizabeth McNally, 1960 NE 185 Terrace, North Miami Beach, member of the Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC), member of the National Federation for the Blind, service animal user, and former Chair of the Commission on Disability Issues, noted she had trouble getting taxi cabs while accompanied by a guide dog, and that Special Transportation Services (STS) was not always an option. 2) Ms. Virginia Jacko, President, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, noted she travels a lot to speak on behalf of all service animal users and was totally blind. She spoke of her experiences being refused rides by taxi cab drivers because she was accompanied by a guide dog, which served as her eyes. She noted many well-intended taxi drivers refuse guide dogs because of a State law; and felt this action was a violation of her civil rights and the County’s rules needed to be stiffened. 3) Mr. Diego Feliciano, South Florida Taxicab Association (SFTA), noted he felt the disabled should be able to get a taxi cab whenever needed. He noted his only concern with this ordinance was that the fines might be too stiff and could adversely impact the Taxi Cab business. He supported better enforcement rather than steeper fines. 4) Mr. Les Eisenberg, Metro Taxi, spoke of cab drivers on Miami Beach refusing to stop for persons accompanied by guide dogs because of Florida Statute (FS) 316.1945, which prohibits improper stopping. He expressed concern about how this ordinance would be reconciled with the State law in order to keep cab drivers from violating the law. 5) Mr. John Valdez, 5590 SW 5 Terrace, noted as a cab driver, he would continue stopping for disabled persons accompanied by guide dogs; and if issued a citation for violating the State law, he would report the issuing officer to the American Disabilities Association. However, he noted he opposed companies being sued for their drivers not stopping; and felt it was the driver’s responsibility. 6) Ms. Sandra Hicks, 8211 SW 30th St., President, Local National Federation of the Blind, noted she was born blind and had been disregarded by taxi cab drivers because she was accompanied by her guide dog. She noted having her dog gave her independence, which allowed her to travel to speak on the rights of the disabled concerning service animals. The following appeared in opposition: 1) Mr. Raymond Francois, 11970 NE 16th Avenue, expressed concern that this ordinance did not specify fines or types of service animals. He asked if it applied to all service animals, including horses. Chairman Gimenez closed the public hearing after seeing no one else wishing to speak on this matter. It was moved by Commissioner Sosa that the Committee forward the foregoing proposed ordinance to the County Commission with a favorable recommendation. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Martinez, and followed by a discussion. Commissioner Diaz concurred with the comments of Mr. Valdez. He noted taxi cab services were important because taxis were the first entity seen in this community by tourists traveling through Miami’s airport. He noted he supported the recommendation of the County Attorney for fines of $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second, and a loss of license for a third offense, though he felt they were not strong enough. He asked whether this ordinance included a requirement for taxi cab companies to provide drivers a memorandum to check-off or sign, indicating they had received and understood this legislation. Ms. Cathy Grimes Peel, Director, Consumer Services Department (CSD), noted CSD would conduct an extensive informational campaign to ensure all tax cab chauffeurs were aware of this change in the legislation. She noted CSD currently conducts chauffer training classes with a session on ADA issues. Commissioner Diaz said he preferred having the taxi cab companies provide employees with a memorandum similar to a standard operating procedure (SOP) memorandum that they could sign, acknowledging they were aware of the new procedures. He noted he believed the issue concerning other types of service animals was covered under federal law. In response to Commissioner Diaz' request for legal clarification of issues related to this preference he just expressed, Assistant County Attorney Gerald Sanchez noted that when a chauffeur was ready to renew his or her registration, staff could provide a form for the chauffeur to sign in acknowledgement that he or she had read and understood these provisions. Responding further to Commissioner Diaz’ inquiry regarding whether a company could be required to do the same, Assistant County Attorney Sanchez noted that requirement could be imposed on companies as well, but the issue, logistically, was how that would occur. Ms. Peel noted CSD could incorporate a provision in the chauffeur’s application and renewal process for drivers to sign, acknowledging they understood this requirement, and could develop a document for owners of rental companies to sign and return to CSD, since not many rental companies existed. She advised it would take approximately two years for all chauffeurs in the renewal process to be informed. Commissioner Diaz asked to amend this ordinance to incorporate language as such. Commissioner Sosa accepted the amendment. She pointed out that a service animal was defined by federal law 28CFR36.104, and refusing to transport a disabled person with guide animal was already illegal. She noted the intent was to be sensitive to those with a disability. She asked to be listed as a co-sponsor of this ordinance. Commissioner Diaz asked to also be listed as a co-sponsor of this ordinance. Chairman Gimenez spoke in support of this proposed legislation, and asked to be listed as a co-sponsor of it. Hearing no further comments or questions, the Committee forwarded the foregoing proposed ordinance to the County Commission with a favorable recommendation, with committee amendment(s) to incorporate in the Chauffeur’s application and renewal process, a provision for drivers to sign, and thereby, acknowledge they understood the requirements set forth in this ordinance.

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE RELATING TO FOR-HIRE MOTOR VEHICLES; AMENDING CHAPTER 31 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO PROVIDE THAT NO CHAUFFEUR SHALL REFUSE OR NEGLECT TO TRANSPORT ANY PERSON TRAVELING WITH A SERVICE ANIMAL; PROVIDING FOR DEFINITION OF SERVICE ANIMAL, PENALTIES, SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Chapter 31 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:1
Chapter 31
VEHICLES FOR HIRE
ARTICLE II. LICENSING AND REGULATION OF FOR-HIRE MOTOR VEHICLES
* * *
Sec. 31-92. Violations; penalties

(a) In addition to any other penalties provided by law, including but not limited to those provided in this article, a violation of any applicable provision of this article by a for-hire license holder, registered passenger service company or registered chauffeur shall constitute a civil offense punishable by the applicable civil penalty as provided in the schedule of civil penalties in Section 8CC-10 of this Code. Failure of a person to pay a civil penalty within sixty (60) days of the due date for paying such fine as specified on the civil violation notice or within sixty (60) days of the date of the final outcome of any timely filed appeal of such violation notice, whichever is later, shall result in automatic suspension of such person's for-hire license, passenger service company registration, operating permit and chauffeur registration and all for-hire operations shall cease until such fine is paid in full. If a person commits five (5) violations of the same section of this chapter during any twelve-month period, such person's for-hire license, passenger service company registration, operating permit or chauffeur's registration shall be automatically revoked. If a person commits five (5) violations of this chapter during any twelve-month period, such person's for-hire license, passenger service company registration, operating permit or chauffeur's registration may be suspended for a period of up to six (6) months or revoked. Provided however, if a person commits three (3) violations of Sections 31-82(j)(12) or 31-303(i)(4) or any combination thereof during any twelve-month period, such person's for-hire license, operating permit or chauffeur's registration may be suspended for a period of up to six (6) months or revoked.>>Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, if a person commits two (2) violations of Section 31-303(i)(23), such person's chauffeur's registration may be suspended for a period of up to six (6) months or revoked.<<

Section 2. Section 31-303 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec 31-303. Chauffeur’s Registration; all types.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to drive any for-hire vehicle over any street in Miami-Dade County without first having obtained a chauffeur's registration from the CSD pursuant to this section.
* * *
(i) Chauffeurs must abide by all rules and regulations applicable to chauffeurs and shall be subject to enforcement, violations and penalties contained in this chapter and Chapter 8CC of this Code. A chauffeur shall comply with the following regulations:

* * *
(4) No chauffeur shall refuse or neglect to transport to any place in the county any orderly person regardless of race, sex, religion, national origin, age or physical disability [[(including a seeing-eye dog),]] who is willing and able to pay the prescribed fare and no chauffeur shall accept any additional passengers without the consent of the passengers already within the vehicle unless the passenger is being transported under a shared ride or other special service rate.

* * *

>>(23) No chauffeur shall refuse or neglect to transport to any place in the county any orderly person, including a service animal, who is willing and able to pay the prescribed fare and no chauffeur shall accept any additional passengers without the consent of the passengers already within the vehicle unless the passenger is being transported under a shared ride or other special service rate. As used in Chapter 31, the term “service animal” shall mean any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal, as defined in 28 C.F.R. § 36.104, individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. <<

Section 3. Chapter 8CC of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Chapter 8CC
CODE ENFORCEMENT
Sec. 8CC-10. Schedule of civil penalties. The following table shows the sections of this Code, as they may be amended from time to time, which may be enforced pursuant to the provisions of this chapter; and the dollar amount of civil penalty for the violation of these sections as they may be amended.
The "descriptions of violations" below are for informational purposes only and are not meant to limit or define the nature of the violations or the subject matter of the listed Code sections, except to the extent that different types of violations of the same Code section may carry different civil penalties. For each Code section listed in the schedule of civil penalties, the entirety of that section may be enforced by the mechanism provided in this Chapter 8CC, regardless of whether all activities proscribed or required within that particular section are described in the "Description of Violation" column. To determine the exact nature of any activity proscribed or required by this Code, the relevant Code section must be examined.
Code Section Description of Violation Civil Penalty
* * *
>>31-303(i)(23) Refusal to transport passenger and $500.00
service animal, for first violation

31-303(i)(23) Refusal to transport passenger and $1000.00
service animal, subsequent violations<<

Section 4. >>The Consumer Services Department shall amend its chauffeur registration application forms to incorporate a written acknowledgement from each chauffeur that the chauffeur is aware of the provisions of this ordinance.<< 2
Section 5. >>Each for-hire passenger service company or for-hire provider registered with the CSD shall as soon as practicable distribute to each chauffeur authorized by the company or for-hire provider a notice and acknowledgement, prepared by the CSD, which explains the requirements of this ordinance. Each chauffeur shall acknowledge in writing receipt of the notice distributed by the for-hire passenger service company or for-hire provider. Each for-hire passenger service company or for-hire provider shall retain a copy of each acknowledgement for a period of one (1) year. The requirements of this section shall sunset one (1) year after the effective date of this ordinance.<<
Section 6. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 7. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance>>, with the exception of Section 4 and Section 5,<< shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word "ordinance" may be changed to "section," "article," or other appropriate word.
Section 8. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.
1 Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed. Remaining provisions are now in effect and remain unchanged.
2 Committee amendments are indicated as follows: words double stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words double underlined and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed.



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