Fire ring bill stalled in state Senate Appropriations Committee

An Assembly bill aiming to protect fire rings in Southern California was held back in the state Senate Appropriations Committee and will not be heard again this year.

The committee agreed Monday to delay the vote on AB 1102 until Thursday, but the bill was not brought up or voted on, according to a representative of Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach).

Allen said in a statement that he vows to continue fighting for the protection of fire rings and blames politics for the bill being held back.

"Through our efforts, including AB 1102, we have succeeded so far in keeping all of our beach bonfire rings and will continue to work to preserve this iconic pastime," he wrote. "With the decision [Thursday] of the Democrats to side with the [South Coast Air Quality Management District] in holding AB 1102, they sent the message that politics trumps the voice of the people."

The fire ring bill, co-authored by Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), would have required cities or counties to obtain a coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission if they chose to remove or restrict the use of the wood-burn devices.

An applicant also would have to show what could be done to avoid removal or restriction of the fire pits.

Debates over the fire rings between neighboring coastal cities Huntington Beach and Newport Beach erupted last year, with some people arguing that the smoke from the rings is a health hazard. Others said that the fire pits are a long-standing Southern California tradition.

— Anthony Clark Carpio

Twitter: @acocarpio

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