Gov. vetoes smoking ban at state parks and beaches


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

Schwarzenegger, whose cigar habit led him to build a smoking tent at the state Capitol, said in his veto message that the proposed regulation, which would have been the most far-reaching tobacco legislation in the nation, went too far. Such rules should be left up to cities, counties and local park officials, the governor said.

“There is something inherently uncomfortable about the idea of the state encroaching in such a broad manner on the people of California,” the veto message said. “This bill crosses an important threshold between state power … and local decision-making.”

The measure, SB 4 by state 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 it 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.

The restrictions were needed for “clear environmental, fire safety and health reasons,” she said.