California bill would prevent CLEAR passengers from line-jumping at airports

A bill proposal in California would prohibit security screening company CLEAR from skipping the general security lines at state airports, marking the first proposal of its kind.

California state Sen. Josh Newman (D), the sponsor of the legislation, said the bill is not banning CLEAR from state airports, but rather moving the service to its own, dedicated security lane.

“General passengers don’t have anyone cutting in front of them anymore, and CLEAR passengers can still fly through their dedicated security lane. It will speed up security for everyone!” he wrote Monday in a post on the social platform X.

While CLEAR may save time for high-paying customers, this can be done at the cost of average airport travelers, whom Newman claimed are often “pushed aside” for CLEAR subscribers to move ahead in the general security line.

“California’s airports should of course be encouraged to find creative ways to raise revenues, but not at the expense of the public’s interest,” Newman wrote in a bill analysis.

CLEAR, which was founded in 2010, allows subscribers to bypass normal airport security and identification verification processes by using biometric technology. Subscribers can walk up to a CLEAR pod, scan their boarding pass, and verify their identity with a scan of their eyes or fingerprint. They are then escorted to physical screening.

A CLEAR individual membership costs $189 a year, while a family membership costs $189 a year plus $99 per person. The service is used in more than 50 airports across the country.

CLEAR is partnered with nine airports in California, a company spokesperson told The Hill.

“CLEAR has been leading the way on identity verification technology for 14 years and continues that leadership with NextGen Identity+,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Hill. “We are always working with our airline and airport partners as well as local, state, and federal governments to ensure all travelers have a safer, easier checkpoint experience.”

The bill has support from both sides of the aisle, and from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA’s local chapter, AFGE Local 1230, CBS Money Watch reported. It is set to come before the California State Senate’s transportation committee on Tuesday.

Updated at 4:55 p.m.

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