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Schwarzenegger vetoes beach smoking ban

May 3, 2010 |  5:05 pm

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday vetoed a measure that would have banned smoking in state parks and beaches, calling it "an improper intrusion of government into people’s lives.’’

Schwarzenegger, whose own cigar-smoking habit led him to build a smoking tent next to the state Capitol building, said the most far-reaching regulations of tobacco in the nation went too far and that rules should be left up to local cities and counties.

"There is something inherently uncomfortable about the idea of the state encroaching in such a broad manner on the people of California,’’ Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message, adding "This bill crosses an important threshold between state power and command and local decision-making."

The measure by Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) would have allowed a $100 fine to be levied against those cited for smoking in designated areas at 278 state beaches and parks but would have allowed people to light up in parking lots and campgrounds.

 “I’m sorry the governor did not agree with this widely supported effort to increase public awareness about the environmental threats carelessly tossed cigarettes are doing to our marine life and to the great outdoors,” Oropeza said, adding that SB 4 was needed for "clear environmental, fire safety and health reasons.’’

-- Patrick McGreevy

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