Capitol Alert

It’s OK to light up at California beaches and parks, Jerry Brown says

'I'm Quitting': Impact of California's new $2-a-pack tax hike

As California's new cigarette tax jumps by $2 a pack on April 1, 2017, smokers and store owners say it'll take a hit on sales. For many, it's motivation to finally quit smoking.
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As California's new cigarette tax jumps by $2 a pack on April 1, 2017, smokers and store owners say it'll take a hit on sales. For many, it's motivation to finally quit smoking.

For the second year in a row, Gov. Jerry Brown has rejected efforts to prohibit smoking at California state parks and beaches.

Brown on Friday vetoed a pair of bills that would have authorized fines for anyone caught smoking cigarettes, electronic cigarettes or marijuana at the sites.

“If people can’t smoke even on a deserted beach, where can they?” Brown wrote in his veto message. “There must be some limits to the coercive power of government.”

Assembly Bill 725, by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, and Senate Bill 386, by Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, both aimed to cut down on pollution from cigarette butts, which are the largest source of litter collected during environmental cleanups, particularly along the coast.

Many cities, from San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego, have already forbidden smoking at their local parks and public beaches. Maine prohibited smoking at state parks and historical sites in 2009, and New Jersey approved a broad ban for any public park, beach or forest last year.

But California lawmakers have unsuccessfully pursued a state ban for years. Former. Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a measure in 2010, while Brown vetoed another last year for taking “too broad” and “punitive” an approach to the problem.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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