California bill would prohibit line skipping via Clear at airports

Some passengers who have enjoyed an expedited journey through the security checkpoints at United States airports could lose the right to skip the line in California. 

A proposed California bill would ban third-party vendors like Clear from using the standard security or Transportation Security Administration Pre Check lines—keeping those customers from cutting ahead of other passengers at security checkpoints. However, government programs like TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry would remain unaffected. 

Clear charges members $189 per year to verify passengers' identities at airports, allowing them to bypass TSA checkpoints. The service is in use at more than 55 airports across the U.S., as well as at dozens of sports stadiums and other venues, according to its website. Members verify their identity at Clear kiosks. It is separate to the TSA Pre-Check, although many Clear members use both services.

State Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat, is sponsoring the legislation, and it has bipartisan support from Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen.


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"It's a basic equity issue when you see people subscribed to a concierge service being escorted in front of people who have waited a long time to get to the front of TSA line," Newman told CBS MoneyWatch. 

Supporters of the proposed legislation say Clear passengers shouldn't be allowed to skip the line just because they have more money. Supporters of the bill include the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the union representing Transportation Security Officers in Oakland, Sacramento and San Jose.

Several airlines, including Delta, Southwest, United, Alaska, JetBlue and Hawaiian are pushing back against the bill, saying that the revenue lost from Clear could result in increased airfares. 

Fox Business contributed to this report.