Bill Would Limit Smoking in Cars
A bill (AB 379) pending in the Senate for the first time could ban smoking legal tobacco products on private property by banning smoking in vehicles when young children are present, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Under the measure, by Assembly member Paul Kortez (D-West Hollywood), smoking in a vehicle when a child younger than six or lighter than 60 pounds is present would be illegal. Violators would receive a base fine of up to $100, which could increase to more than $350 through penalty assessments for courts, jails, trauma centers and other programs.
The bill is nearly identical to a measure the Legislature rejected in recent years. However, advocates say new developments have improved the bill's chances: The California Air Resources Board in January declared secondhand smoke a toxic air contaminant, and a U.S. Surgeon General's report concluded that small doses or brief exposure to secondhand smoke can pose a health risk to infants and children.
Opponents of the measure say it is intrusive and believe limitations on other private property would follow.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has not taken a position on the bill (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 8/14).