Some of the laws are protectionist to keep others from offering the same service but better. Others are to protect consumers. When there are bad laws on the books that are profiting the people representing us they are almost impossible to remove without a serious shakeup of the industry and massive consumer awareness that it doesn't have to be this way.
Seriously ask yourself, before Uber did you even know how much the price of medallion was? Did you even know what the relevant laws were? Since there was no other option we just accepted it. Yes people complained and small fixes were done like flat rate to airports from major cities and the like, but no serious major look at the system. Now people are aware, and uber (and others) is getting the voters geared up to change. Traditional taxi cab companies are not happy and will use all of their power to fight the change in major cities since it means a significant cut into their profits. In smaller areas the smart thing to do is for the taxi companies to work with Uber (or another) and find a way to team up (As uber grows that will be a more likely outcome) so that everyone benefits in a new system.