A pair of bills seeking to allow cities and counties to restrict smoking within the boundaries of their public beaches and parks have failed to advance in the Florida Legislature, as Tuesday was the last day for regularly scheduled committee meetings and neither advanced out of those hearings.
The Senate version of the bill, SB 334, was sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, who has been an outspoken advocate for letting cities and counties implement restrictions when it comes to smoking on their beaches. He has sponsored several bills in recent years that all sought to rewrite Florida state law, which currently says that only the state can ban smoking at beaches. While the bills wouldn’t have automatically implemented any bans, it would have allowed cities and counties to have the discussion rather than having to abide by the state’s law.
The bill had been on the Senate Rules Committee’s agenda for Tuesday, but was postponed. The House version, HB 239, has been sitting in the House Environment, Agriculture and Flooding Subcommittee since mid-March. That bill was sponsored by Rep. Thad Altman, R-Indiatlantic.
The bills also sought to prohibit smoking within all state parks.