California wants to crack down on Clear at the airport

California wants to crack down on Clear at the airport

California Lawmakers Consider Changes to Clear Security Service

Clear, a service that lets people skip the security line at airports with nothing but a biometric scan and $189, is facing potential changes in California. Some lawmakers argue that it creates a division between travelers.

California lawmakers voted 8-4 to move a bill out of the Senate Transportation Committee that would create a moratorium on Clear’s expansion at state airports. The bill has to be approved by the full California Senate and Assembly and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to become law.

Clear, a publicly-traded security company, lets members jump the line at airports, sports, concerts, and other venues. For $189 a year, Clear members can verify their identity at an airport kiosk using their biometric data, such as a face scan or fingerprint, without having to show their ID to a Transportation Security Administration agent. Once a traveler’s identity has been verified, the traveler is escorted by a Clear employee right to the front of a TSA security line.

Line-skipping has created frustration and a feeling of unfairness among some other travelers who don’t have access to or can’t afford the price of the Clear membership. (The TSA’s PreCheck program, which is run by the government agency, costs $78 over five years.)

Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat who introduced the bill, stated, “When it comes to making one’s way through airport security, the quality of that experience shouldn’t be contingent on a traveler’s income or willingness to pay.”

The bill seeks to have Clear and other third-party screening services operate separate lines for members, alleviating concerns about line-skipping. It also would prohibit airports from entering into new contracts with private companies like Clear if they use existing TSA security lines and screeners.

Clear, and major airlines like Delta, California airports, and business groups like the California Chamber of Commerce oppose the bill. Clear has created hundreds of jobs in the state, serves nearly 1 million California residents, and contributed more than $13 million in revenue to state airports.

The bill has support from the Association of Flight Attendants and a California branch of the American Federation of Government Employees representing TSA agents.

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