Florida Bills Seeking Beach Smoking Bans Fails to Advance

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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.

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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.

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I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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