Schwarzenegger vetoes smoking ban at state beaches, parks

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today vetoed a proposed ban on smoking at all state beaches and parks.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed legislation that would have banned smoking at all California state parks and beaches.

The cigar smoking-governor said Monday that such a ban would be an improper intrusion of government into people's lives. He often invites state lawmakers into his smoking tent at the state Capitol.

The bill's author, Democratic state Sen. Jenny Oropeza of Long Beach, says her bill would have helped reduce litter, the threat of wildfire and second-hand smoke.

Hundreds of communities nationwide have enacted similar bans at municipal parks and local beaches. Maine is the only state to ban smoking at its state beaches.

Anti-smoking groups say no state has banned smoking throughout its entire park system.

“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,” the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, said afterward. “In addition to the clear environmental, fire safety and health reasons sought to be addressed under SB 4, the governor’s veto is in stark contrast to what is already being done at more than 100 local cities and counties statewide.”