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Oswego looking to strengthen taxi cab law

Payne Horning
Oswego City Hall.

Oswego lawmakers are once again revisiting the city's taxi cab laws in an attempt to improve public safety.

The Oswego Common Council is proposing several amendments to existing law, most notably a "good moral character" clause to limit who can be a licensed cab driver in the city. The new language is an attempt to bar those convicted of certain crimes like murder, rape, sexual abuse of minors, child pornography, ransom, etc. from getting a license.

The Oswego chief of police would ultimately make the decision about who's approved to drive on a case by case basis, but Councilman John Gosek says this offers some guidelines.

"If you’re going to come to Oswego then you need to license your cab and we need to know who’s behind the wheel because it is a huge public safety concern," Gosek said. "In this day and age with college students taking cabs, families, elderly people -- we need to know who’s driving."

Oswego tried to ban those convicted of certain crimes from getting a license two years ago. It was unsuccessful because a lawsuit was filed from a group that opposes job discrimination. Gosek says this will fix those concerns by giving police the teeth they need to refuse or revoke a license that was not laid out before and by increasing the penalties violators will pay.

The changes in the law are also aimed at reducing some of the regulatory burdens on the city's cab drivers, like lower fees and allowing cab drivers to pick up multiple parties if their customers consent.  

A public hearing on the proposed law will be held at Oswego City Hall on November 28 at 7 p.m. The Common Council plans to vote on the resolution afterward.  

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.