The California State Senate approved S.B. 8 on its third reading on Thursday, voting 28-10 on a bill that would prohibit smoking within the state’s parks and beaches.
It’s the latest in a number of pushes in recent years to snuff out smoking and the use of e-cigarettes in the two areas, with this year’s version introduced by Sen. Steve Glazer, D-7, and Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-10.
The bill would make it an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $25 for a person to smoke on a state coastal beach or in a unit of the state park system, or to dispose of used cigar or cigarette waste on a state coastal beach or in a unit of the state park system unless the disposal is made in an appropriate waste receptacle. It contains an exemption to the ban for those smoking or using tobacco “in connection with the good faith practice of a religious belief or ceremony.”
The bill tasks park rangers with enforcing the ban.
Three similar bills have been passed in recent years, only to be vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. In his most veto, Brown wrote that his opinion on the matter had still not changed, and that “we have many rules telling us what we can’t do and these are wide open spaces.”
However, it will not be Brown’s signature that the legislature will be seeking, but rather that of Gavin Newsom, the new governor of California. Newsom was the former mayor of San Francisco who had served as Lieutenant Governor of California since 2011. He began his term as governor on Jan. 7, 2019.
The bill now heads to the state Assembly for debate.