Uber is facing protests, but this time it’s in support of the ridesharing company rather than opposition from taxicabs.

This week hundreds of Uber drivers in Trenton, N.J., protested proposed regulations and oversight that they say would put them out of business. New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill with amendments that would require ridesharing companies to apply for permits with the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission, greater insurance requirements than taxis or limos face, mandated criminal background checks, and a special seal that says drivers have valid licenses and state inspections.

Lawmakers claim they want to see innovation, but that these rules are about safety. Uber and its drivers contend these stringent rules will drive Uber right out of New Jersey and, moreover, are driven by the taxicab industry’s desire to protect itself against competition.

Uber and Lyft have been godsends for unemployed workers and freelancers. Not only do the companies offer income but they make available flexible schedules and freelance work. College students to stay-at-home moms to retirees can utilize their vehicles to shuttle neighbors and travelers around. That’s great for the economy and it’s also good for the environment as fewer drivers are on the roads. And if you prefer to ride with a more regulated service, you already have a choice: call a taxi.

These are arguments advocates for Uber are making and nothing is more powerful than a personal story such as this one: “I was 57 years old, I had no source of income, we were living on my wife’s income raising a household with two grandkids in it. Uber came along and in the past year I earned $75,000.” This is the testimony of Lou Forino, a New Jersey Uber driver who was among the protestors as CNBC reports:

"This bill's aim is to drive us out of the state," Josh Mohrer, Uber's New Jersey general manager, told CNBC. "It's to prevent having to compete. And if it passes, we will have to leave New Jersey."

The protest is part of growing tension nationally and globally surrounding the explosion of transportation start-ups—including Lyft—that are in direct competition with traditional taxi and limousine companies. While Uber and Lyft largely are unregulated, city and state officials are grappling with next steps as more consumers turn to smartphones and mobile apps to hail drivers, often at more affordable prices than traditional options.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who's sponsoring the regulation bill and chairs the New Jersey transportation committee, said a key concern is insurance coverage, NJ.com reported.

"I think it's a difficult issue. We want to allow innovative companies to provide services in New Jersey, but we also have to fulfill our fundamental obligation to ensure that those services are provided safely," Wisniewski told NJ.com.

Late Thursday, the bill narrowly advanced in a legislative committee hearing, and will now advance to a full legislative committee vote.

Uber and Lyft are part of the larger sharing economy in which independent workers leverage their freelance status. After the Great Recession, more Americans have filled the vacuum of full-time work and benefits with a patchwork of part-time gigs and projects that increasingly are accessed online and through convenient mobile apps.

Innovation disrupts the status quo and that unnerves those who profit from the way things are. Uber and Lyft are just two examples of disruptive companies that are making life easier and more efficient than before. Instead of working to stifle innovation, lawmakers such as those in New Jersey ought to find ways to encourage innovation.

They claim that greater regulation is to secure safety, but Uber already has in place what their asking for such as background checks and insurance. Measures from the NJ assembly to hold Uber drivers to even greater restrictions are mean to detour new drivers and turn out current drivers.

The key to this story is the net gain to the labor market and the economy that Uber provides. Many of these drivers would otherwise be unemployed. To go from $0 to $75,000 on your own schedule, is a testament to the power of the sharing economy. Those are not just workers but consumers who can afford to pay their mortgages, shop at local grocers, dine at local restaurants, and inject money into the economy.

In a free market, entrepreneurs are empowered to take risks and generate value for society. That may mean that those who provide similar products or services at a higher price or worse quality may lose customers and go out of business, but that’s not a bad thing. Allow customers to dictate what the best services and products are – not government.