New California Bill Could Ban CLEAR, Paid Service to Skip TSA Checkpoints

A California state senator introduced a bill that would prohibit the private security clearance company Clear from partnering with airports in the state, arguing that allowing wealthy travelers to bypass TSA security lines wasn’t fair to other passengers.

State Senator Josh Newman told CBS News that his bill, SB-1372, addressed “basic equity.” He explained that wealthy Clear subscribers can move to the front of the line ahead of the other air travelers who have to wait “a long time to get to the front of the TSA line.”

He said it was unfair to the other travelers already “beaten down” by the frustrations of air travel.

Founded in 2010, Clear is a private security screening service that charges subscribers $189 a year to have their identities verified. Clear members are escorted through security without having to wait at security checkpoints. In addition to partnering with around 50 US airports, Clear also partners with dozens of venues, including sports stadiums.

In an emailed statement, the company said it was proud to partner with nine airports in California, explaining that its partnerships have created hundreds of jobs, served nearly a million residents of the state, and provided more than $13 million in shared revenues.

Senator Newman insisted that his legislation was not aimed at punishing Clear or putting it out of business. He said the purpose of the legislation was to “create a better traffic flow” to keep Clear subscribers from “intersecting with the general public.”

Newman said the bill was designed to prevent “a moment of friction” which could be “frustrating” to other air travelers.

The local TSA officer union AFGE Local 1230 endorsed Newman’s legislation. Its president James Murdock said non-subscribers of Clear’s service “suffer” from the company’s “aggressive sales tactics” as well as “longer security queues.”

Major US airlines, including Delta, United, and JetBlue, oppose the measure, arguing that it would restrict the management of security lines at airports, worsening the travel experience for all passengers.