“Third time is not always a charm,” Gov. Jerry Brown wrote in his veto letter regarding a trio of bills that would have banned smoking at state parks and beaches, referencing his two previous vetoes of similar proposals.
The governor said that his opinion on the matter had not changed, and that “we have many rules telling us what we can’t do and these are wide open spaces,” in his Saturday veto.
The bills, which were sent to the governor on Sept. 1 after getting the legislature’s approval, would have prohibited smoking in state parks and beaches, and with the same provision: that smoking in a state park or on a state beach is not allowed, and a person can be cited with an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $25 if they dispose of the used cigar or cigarette waste in a unit of the state park system, other than in an appropriate waste receptacle. Assuming a person does put their spent cigar, cigarette or other item into a proper waste receptacle, it would appear there would be no fine, even though smoking would remain prohibited. In essence, both bills sought to bring an end to the improper disposal of lit tobacco products, a push that has gained traction due to recent wildfires in the state and the growing concern that there will be more in future years.
Sponsors of the bill hoped that Brown would be amendable to the reduced fines and the ability to create designated smoking areas included in the bills, as well as motivated by the growing danger of wildfires, as there were some 13 active wildfires burning within the state when the bills arrived on his desk.