CALIFORNIA, USA — Before you hit the beach to start the new year, here are some new state laws to keep in mind:
Summary: Smoking will be banned in state parks and state coastal beaches.
Current law: Smoking was previously allowed in all areas of state parks and beaches except for in certain places like inside buildings, trails or guided walks.
What’s new: People can no longer inhale, exhale, burn or carry a lighted or heated tobacco product or electronic smoking device. The device itself is not banned, and people can smoke in parking facilities near the park or if the act of smoking is part of a religious ceremony. If caught breaking this law, there is a $25 fine.
Why it’s needed: Supporters of SB 8 argued that this law would address public health concerns of pollution and environmental impacts associated with the littering of used tobacco products on beaches. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that cigarettes left behind were responsible for killing at least one million sea birds and 100,00 mammals.
Summary: Government agencies must create timeline to make Hollister Ranch more publicly accessible
Current Law: Currently, the Gaviota Coast is the least accessible part of the California coast line. This includes Northern Santa Barbara County’s hidden gem, Hollister Ranch near Jalama Beach (Lompoc).
What’s new: This new law would require government agencies to come up with a new contemporary public access program by April 2021 that would be implemented by April 2022. If they miss that deadline, they have to submit a report to the state legislature explaining why within 30 days.
Why it’s needed: This would provide for more educational and research-based opportunities at Hollister Ranch, as well as provide more scenic beach access to the public. This law is more in favor of public beach access rather than private ranch owners that want to keep tourists away from their slice of paradise.