Calif. Governor Vetoes Smoking Ban for Parks and Beaches

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited smoking at all state parks and beaches, saying the measure represented unwarranted government intrusion, the Associated Press reported May 3.

“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.

Supporters of the ban argued that it would cut down on cigarette waste on public lands; cigarette butts are the most common trash item collected by volunteers during cleanup events, environmental groups said.

Bill sponsor Sen. Jenny Oropeza said she was “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.”

Schwarzenegger said increasing fines and penalties would be more effective in limiting cigarette trash in parks.

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