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No cuts: Proposed bill could change skipping the security line at the airport

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(NEW YORK) — California lawmakers have pushed forward a new piece of legislation aimed at changing the way third-party security screening companies like CLEAR help expedite customers through security at the airport.

An annual CLEAR membership that costs $189 allows travelers to skip the onerous security lines and instead verify their identity with biometric data at a kiosk, then get escorted by an agent to the front of the line bypassing TSA and TSA PreCheck.

But California Senate Bill 1372, which passed 8-4 in the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday, would ban CLEAR from expanding at California airports unless the security company utilizes its own dedicated security lines.

“This bill would prohibit a public airport that provides commercial services, beginning January 1, 2025, from entering into a new agreement that authorizes a private third-party vendor that provides expedited security screening to use the standard security lane or the Transportation Security Administration PreCheck security lane,” a summary of the bill states.

CLEAR currently operates at nine airports in the Golden State.

The first-of-its-kind bill in the U.S. was introduced by Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman. It now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee, after which the bill could be brought for a vote before the full California Senate and state assembly before potentially making it to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

In a press release on his official website, Newman described the proposed bill as offering “a more equitable experience at airport security checkpoints.”

“Despite what some have said, SB 1372 doesn’t seek to terminate the CLEAR concierge service at California airports. Instead, it seeks to have CLEAR and other third-party screening services operate separate lines for subscribers, eliminating the friction and frustration created by the current system,” Newman clarified in a written statement.

The bill has several opponents including the California Chamber Of Commerce and California Travel Association, and major airline carriers including Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines.

The publicly traded expedited screening service provider, which was founded in 2010, is in use at more than 55 airports across the U.S., as well as sports stadiums and other large venues.

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