Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App
  • Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App
  • BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 01: In this photo illustration, the app 'Uber' is launched in a smart phone on July 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. Taxi drivers in main cities strike over unlicensed car-halling services. Drivers say that is a lack of regulation behind the new app. (Photo Illustration by David Ramos/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: David Ramos via Getty Images
Mideast Egypt Uber
  • Mideast Egypt Uber
  • Anthony Khoury, head of Middle East and Africa expansions for Uber, displays the application on a mobile phone during an event to celebrate the official launch of the car-hailing service in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. Cairo soft launched the company in Nov. 2014. Uber is now in over 270 cities in 55 countries, according to the company. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Uber Lyft Employees or Contractors
  • Uber Lyft Employees or Contractors
  • In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Uber Surge
  • Uber Surge
  • This Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, photo taken in Newark, N.J., shows smartphones displaying Uber car availability in New York. Uber is offering car service in 250 cities in 50 countries now, up from 60 cities in 21 countries just a year ago. Uber hasn’t released its financial figures to the public, so valuing the company is pure guesswork. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Uber Launch-Nevada
  • Uber Launch-Nevada
  • Uber West Coast Regional Manager William Barnes sits in the back of a car during a photo shoot Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Las Vegas. The ride sharing company has begun operations in Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
India Uber Asia
  • India Uber Asia
  • In this April 3, 2014 photo, a smartphone is mounted on the glass of an Uber car in Mumbai, India. Riding on its startup success and flush with fresh capital, taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber is making a big push into Asia. The company has in the last year started operating in 18 cities in Asia and the South Pacific including Seoul, Shanghai, Bangkok, Hong Kong and five Indian cities. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
INDIA-CRIME-RAPE-TRANSPORT-UBER
  • INDIA-CRIME-RAPE-TRANSPORT-UBER
  • The Uber smartphone app, used to book taxis using its service, is pictured over a parking lot as auto-rickshaws (background) ply a road in the Indian capital New Delhi on December 7, 2014. An Uber taxi driver allegedly raped a 25-year-old passenger in the Indian capital before threatening to kill her, police said December 7, in a blow to the company's safety-conscious image. AFP PHOTO/TENGKU BAHAR (Photo credit should read TENGKU BAHAR/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: TENGKU BAHAR via Getty Images
Grand Tasting Presented By ShopRite Featuring KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations Presented By MasterCard - Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE
  • Grand Tasting Presented By ShopRite Featuring KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations Presented By MasterCard - Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE
  • NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: A general view of atmosphere at the Uber Technologies station at the Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite featuring KitchenAid® culinary demonstrations presented by MasterCard during the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at Pier 94 on October 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
  • Image Credit: Bryan Bedder via Getty Images
Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14: In this photo illustration the new smart phone taxi app 'Uber' shows how to select a pick up location at Atocha Station on October 14, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 'Uber' application started to operate in Madrid last September despite Taxi drivers claim it is an illegal activity and its drivers currently operate without a license. 'Uber' is an American based company which is quickly expanding to some of the main cities from around the world. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez via Getty Images
Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14: In this photo illustration the new smart phone taxi app 'Uber' shows how to select a pick up location at Puerta de Alcala Square on October 14, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 'Uber' application started to operate in Madrid last September despite Taxi drivers claim it is an illegal activity and its drivers currently operate without a license. 'Uber' is an American based company which is quickly expanding to some of the main cities from around the world. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez via Getty Images
Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14: In this Photo Illustration a smart phone displays a picture with the logo of the news taxi app 'Uber' as people walk past on October 14, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 'Uber' application started to operate in Madrid last September despite Taxi drivers claim it is an illegal activity and its drivers currently operate without a license. 'Uber' is an American based company which is quickly expanding to some of the main cities from around the world. (Photo Illustration by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez via Getty Images
Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14: In this photo illustration the new smart phone taxi app 'Uber' shows how to select a pick up location at Atocha Station on October 14, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 'Uber' application started to operate in Madrid last September despite Taxi drivers claim it is an illegal activity and its drivers currently operate without a license. 'Uber' is an American based company which is quickly expanding to some of the main cities from around the world. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez via Getty Images
Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14: In this Photo Illustration a smart phone displays a picture with the logo of the news taxi app 'Uber' outside Plaza de Toros Las Ventas on October 14, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 'Uber' application started to operate in Madrid last September despite Taxi drivers claim it is an illegal activity and its drivers currently operate without a license. 'Uber' is an American based company which is quickly expanding to some of the main cities from around the world. (Photo Illustration by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez via Getty Images
Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • Uber Taxi App In Madrid
  • MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14: In this photo illustration the new smart phone taxi app 'Uber' shows how to select a pick up location next to a taxi lane on October 14, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 'Uber' application started to operate in Madrid last September despite Taxi drivers claim it is an illegal activity and its drivers currently operate without a license. 'Uber' is an American based company which is quickly expanding to some of the main cities from around the world. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez via Getty Images
German Court Bans Uber Service Nationwide
  • German Court Bans Uber Service Nationwide
  • BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 02: In this photo illustration, a woman uses the Uber app on an Samsung smartphone on September 2, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Uber, an app that allows passenger to buy rides from drivers who do not have taxi permits, has had its UberPop freelance driver service banned in Germany after a complaint by Taxi Deutschland, a trade association of taxi drivers in the country. The company, which operates in 42 countries over 200 cities worldwide, plans to both appeal the decision made by a court in Frankfurt as well as, at the risk of heavy fines, continue its services in Germany until a final decision has been made on the matter. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Adam Berry via Getty Images
A bill that sets up a regulatory framework in Oklahoma for ridesharing programs such as Uber and Lyft passed the state Senate on Wednesday, but not before a provision protecting gay and transgender passengers from discrimination was removed.

The version of the "Oklahoma Transportation Network Company Services Act" (House Bill 1614) that passed the Republican-controlled Senate on a 35-11 vote defines such companies as those that use a digital network or software application to connect passengers and drivers.

The House-passed version of the bill included language that prohibited the companies from discriminating against customers based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But Republican Sen. Jason Smalley said he rewrote the bill to eliminate that language and allow private businesses to establish their own policies regarding discrimination.

"I believe if a private business owner wants to serve or not serve an individual, they have that purview right now," said Smalley.

The new version of the bill faced fierce criticism from Sen. John Sparks, a Norman Democrat who tried unsuccessfully to amend the measure requiring any driver who wishes to discriminate against a customer based on sexual orientation or gender identity to post notice of such intent in a visible place on his or her vehicle and on the company's website.

"Why should you be able to discriminate?" Sparks said. "We're talking about a level of civil conduct in the marketplace. Society has figured out that when you enter the marketplace, you should have an expectation of being treated fairly."

Uber and Lyft, among the most popular ridesharing programs, already have policies in place that prohibit discrimination against customers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Uber's policy is to serve every neighborhood, every driver and every person who needs a ride," company spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin said. The company will continue to enforce its current terms of service, "which make clear that discrimination in any form is not tolerated and will result in removal from the platform," she said.

Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom of Oklahoma, said in a statement that the group does not "understand why a member of the Oklahoma Legislature wants to remove protections for (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Oklahomans from a bill that is specific to an industry that already protects them, in their corporate policies. Oklahomans do not believe in discrimination, and it is time for ideological law makers to quit trying to distract from the real problems of our state by attacking the LGBT community."

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The AP contributed to this report.


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