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California lawmakers aim to ban current Clear service at airports for equity

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(The Center Square) – California lawmakers are seeking to ban identity-verification service CLEAR at California airports in the name of “equity.”

CLEAR, available for $189 per year or no additional cost with some credit cards, verifies individuals’ identities so they can skip the identification part of the airport security line and go straight to Transportation Security Administration security screening. The government’s PreCheck program, which costs $78 for five years and requires a security interview, enables use of a separate PreCheck security screening line with less invasive and lengthy security protocols — such as not requiring the removal of shoes and belts or taking laptops out of carry-ons.

Some individuals use CLEAR to get to the front of the PreCheck line to minimize their time spent on airport security. For frequent fliers, this matters, especially with identification checks taking so long they can make the difference between catching and missing a flight as the TSA faces a major worker shortage and a record number of Americans take to air travel.

SB 1432, put forward by State Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, a former Republican, and State Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Huntington Beach, would effectively ban CLEAR from its current operations in California by banning CLEAR from operating as a part of TSA security lines. Instead, CLEAR would need to operate its own, non-TSA security lines to continue operations.

While earlier media reports noted the bill would “ban” CLEAR, Newman wrote in his support of the bill that it would “require CLEAR and other companies offering similar services at California airports to operate in a dedicated security lane, separate from general security and TSA PreCheck passengers, thereby ensuring a consistent and equitable experience for all air travelers.”

“Recognizing the potential inconvenience to Clear customers if the service is phased out at airports,” the California Senate Transportation Committee suggested “amending the bill to instead limit the ability of Clear Secure to extend to new airports in California until dedicated TSA lanes and lines are provided, giving Clear Secure strong motivation to push for more TSA funding.”

The bill is supported by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents federal employees including those of the TSA, and the Association of Flight Attendants. The bill is opposed by airlines, airports and the state’s major business groups.

However, despite the assurances of law makers, given the cost of operating a security line with staff and millions of dollars of equipment experts say the bill — if passed — could spell the end of CLEAR operations in California.