The California State Legislature has once again passed a bill that seeks to ban smoking within state-owned parks and beaches,as legislators hope that a new governor will support their efforts and sign the bill into law.
SB 8 cleared its third reading in the Assembly by a 59-17 vote on Tuesday with three members not voting. It passed the Senate by a 28-10 vote in May. Since amendments were made by the Assembly, it must return to the Senate for agreement on those changes before it can proceed to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature, though the changes are not expected to present an obstacle.
The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Steve Glazer, D-7, and Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-10, seeks to make it illegal 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.
Each would be citable as an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $25, with park rangers tasked with enforcement. The only exemption in the bill applies to those smoking or using tobacco “in connection with the good faith practice of a religious belief or ceremony.”
Similar measures have been passed in recent years by the legislature, only to be vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. In his 2018 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However, Brown no longer holds the office, having been replaced by Newsom, who won election in Nov. 2018 and began his term on Jan. 7. He is the former mayor of San Francisco and served as Lieutenant Governor of California since 2011.
(Update, Sept. 11, 2019) — The Senate agreed to the Assembly’s amendments by a 29-10 vote with one member not voting. The bill has been ordered to be engrossed and enrolled.