Lawmakers may give locals OK to ban smoking on the beachby John Kennedy | February 18th, 2013
Beach cleanup volunteers throughout Palm Beach County say they see the evidence every time they walk the sands.
“Cigarette butts are the number one item we pick up,” said Todd Remmel, county chapter chairman for Surfrider Foundation, an environmental activist organization. “Beaches are supposed to be a playground. But people use them as ashtrays.”
State Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, wants to change that.
Hager is pushing legislation (HB 439) this spring that would give cities and counties power to enact anti-smoking measures on publicly-owned property that are tougher than those in place at the state level.
State law, which has barred local controls since first enacted in 1985, is aimed chiefly at barring smoking indoors.
The legislation, which so far has been ignored by the influential cigarette industry in Tallahassee, is drawing some pushback from cigar enthusiasts. A Senate version (SB 258) is scheduled to get its first hearing Thursday in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.
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