Advocates make pleas to legislators on ride-hailing companies

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WHITE PLAINS -

Uber and Lyft will start operating legally in Westchester and the rest of the state as of midnight Thursday, but it didn't stop people from packing a public hearing to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

The public meeting at the County Board of Legislators was packed with advocates from both sides of the debate who made impassioned pleas to lawmakers.

Wednesday was supposed to originally be the day when legislators could have voted to ban all ride-sharing apps because Uber and Lyft were unwilling to impose further background screenings for their drivers.

On Tuesday, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino brokered an eleventh-hour deal with the companies, allowing them to operate if the drivers would consider undergoing voluntary fingerprinting.

Many have said they won't because they don't feel it's necessary, which has critics irate.

The lawmakers who oppose the ride-hailing companies say they regret not having the votes stop it.  However, Legislator Virginia Perez says the loss doesn't mean she's going to give up the fight.

County legislators say under state law, they have the right to opt out of the deal anytime they want.

The state Assembly has passed a bill approving the name change. The state Senate is still debating the measure.

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