By Pauline Bartolone, California Healthline
For years, state lawmakers have been trying to eliminate secondhand smoke and cigarette butts from California’s 280 illustrious beaches and natural parks.
Once again, they have come up short.
Late Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed two bills that would have banned or drastically curtailed smoking and vaping in parks and beaches run by the state.
“If people can’t smoke even on a deserted beach, where can they?” Brown pondered in his veto message. “There must be some limit to the coercive power of government.”
Lawmakers who supported the legislation said banning smoking at state parks would protect people from health hazards associated with secondhand smoke and prevent the risks that cigarette butts pose to marine life.
The author of one of the bills, Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin County), said he was disappointed by Brown’s decision. Trying to protect people and wildlife from “poisonous” cigarette butts is hardly coercive, he said in an emailed statement.
“The common person knows these dangers too well, and flippantly dismissing them isn’t cool. Even for a governor who is featured in ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine,” Levine said, referring to an interview with Brown that ran last week in the popular culture biweekly.
Levine’s bill would have established designated smoking areas at some parks and beaches and imposed a fine of $50 on anyone caught lighting up outside of those zones.
Another bill, by Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), would have banned smoking altogether on state beaches and established smoking zones at state parks. The fine for any violation would have been $100.
Brown and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger both have vetoed similar measures in the past. Last year, Brown said a…