Bill would let counties restrict smoking in parks

TALLAHASSEE — If you are concerned when people smoke near your children on a public playground or are annoyed by all of the cigarette trash on public beaches, you have company in Tallahassee.

Legislation under consideration by the Florida House and the Florida Senate would give cities and counties the authority to ban cigarette smoking in public parks.

Florida Senate Bill 630, introduced by Florida Sen. Debbie Mayfield, would authorize municipalities and counties to restrict smoking within the boundaries of certain public parks.

Senate Bill 670, filed by Sen. Joe Gruters, would give cities and counties the power to enact smoking bans on public beaches and public parks.

House Bill 457 filed by State Rep. Chip LaMarca also would authorize counties to restrict smoking with the boundaries of certain public beaches and parks.

The bill would change the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act to the Florida Clean Air Act.

If approved, the legislation would go into effect July 1, 2020.

Florida law already allows school districts to restrict smoking on all school property.

Legislation to ban smoking on public beaches and in public parks statewide failed to pass last year. The new bills would give local cities and counties the authority to decide local smoking bans.

Let your elected representatives know your views on the proposed legislation.

Florida senators who represent areas around Lake Okeechobee are:
• District 25 (Martin, St. Lucie and parts of Palm Beach County) — Sen. Gayle Harrell, 772-221-4019;
• District 26 (parts of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee counties and parts of Charlotte, Lee, Polk counties) — Sen. Ben Albritton, 863-534-0073;
• District 29: (parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties) — Sen. Kevin Rader, 561-443-8170;
• District 28 (Collier, Hendry and part of Lee counties) — Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, 863-674-7122.
House of Representatives districts around the lake are:
• District 55 (Okeechobee, Highlands, Glades and part of St. Lucie counties) — Rep. Cary Pigman, 850-717-5055;
• District 81 (part of Palm Beach County) — Rep. Tina Scott Polsky 850-717-5081;
• District 80 (Hendry and part of Collier County) — Rep. Byron Donalds, 850- 717-5080.

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