California - vote tomorrow, nation's most far-reaching smoking ban in state parks..



March 21, 2010 - The final Assembly vote on Senate Bill 4, a statewide effort to protect California´s coastal landscape and state parks, is expected to occur as soon as Monday, March 22nd. It is believed to be the nation's most far-reaching smoking ban in state parks. On a day when the Assembly had several absences, the measure by Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, fell just shy of the necessary 41-vote majority on her plan to ban smoking at state beaches and designated areas of state parks. A full house is expected Monday. The bill in the 80-member Assembly fell five votes short of the simple majority needed to approve the ban.

SB 4, the No Smoking at State Parks and Beaches Act, would establish a fine of up to $100 for smoking at a state beach or park. It was recently amended to allow the state Department of Parks and Recreation, citing enforcement concerns, to designate areas where smoking is banned.

The legislation would ban smoking at state beaches and all other state parks as a way to get unsightly cigarette butts off the beach, eliminate second-hand smoke and reduce the threat of wildfires. Under a legislative compromise, campsites and parking areas will be exempted from the ban.

More than 50 groups and organizations support Oropeza´s bill, including the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach and Torrance, as well as state firefighters, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has determined cigarette butts to be the most frequently found marine debris item in the United States. Smoking-related debris poses a persistent and serious threat to marine life and beachgoers over California´s 1,100 miles of coastline.

Related news brief: California - “The No Smoking at State Parks and Beaches Act..”

References: Pro-environmental smoking ban at state beaches faces vote as soon as Monday, California Political Desk, California Chronicle, 3/20/2010; Attempt stalls to ban smoking at Calif state parks by SAMANTHA YOUNG (Associated Press Writer Jason Dearen in San Francisco contributed to this report), Associated Press, 3/19, 2010.

Related news brief:
California - “The No Smoking at State Parks and Beaches Act..”;