[UPDATED:] Park Rangers' Dilemma: Bust Nudists or Smokers?

UPDATE: The bill to ban smoking at state parks and beaches fell short, but the Long Beach backer vows to bring it back.
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UPDATE: California lawmakers rejected state Sen. Jenny Oropeza's proposal to ban smoking at state parks and beaches, something that is already prohibited in Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach city parks and beaches and likely to be outlawed Monday in Dana Point.

The Long Beach Democrat says she will bring the legislation back to Senate floor, possibly as soon as Monday.

Violators would be subject to $100 fines under the bill that Oropeza insists is needed because:

  • Cigarette butts are the most frequently found marine debris;

  • Cigarette waste threatens the marine life that ingests it;

  • California could save millions in fighting wildfires started by someone tossing a lit cigarette in a state park.

Naturally, tobacco manufacturers oppose the bill, saying a ban infringes on the rights of smokers.

But Oropeza's legislation would exclude campsites and parking lots next to state parks and beaches from the ban, and any state park that can't pony up the funds for no-smoking signs alerting visitors to the rules would be exempt.

Wouldn't it be a hoot if San Onofre park rangers could not afford no-smoking signs because they spent their wad cracking down on nudists?

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