'What's A Playground?' Fla. Lawmakers Want Clarification In Smoking Ban Bill

Jan 9, 2014

A bill allowing local governments across Florida to ban smoking on playgrounds passed its first Senate committee Thursday. But, some wonder about the bill’s true intention.

Speaking before the Senate Regulated Industries Committee Thursday, Fleming Island Republican Senator Rob Bradley outlined his smoking ban bill.

“Senators, this is just a common sense, straightforward piece of legislation that would give our local governments the ability to restrict smoking in playground areas that they own. The restricted area would be clearly marked by a ‘no smoking’ sign, and law enforcement officer—before issuing a citation—must first direct the person to stop smoking and advise him or her of the penalties.”

But, some lawmakers wanted clarification about what constitutes a playground, including Jacksonville Democratic Senator Audrey Gibson.

“If you go to a park, and if there’s a playground area, that area is restricted? Or, if you go to a park and there’s any playground equipment at the park, the entire park is restricted? That’s the area I’m unclear on,” said Gibson.

And, Venice Republican Senator Nancy Detert had a similar question:

“Do you have a definition of playground equipment? I mean, if you have a swing and one slide, are you now a playground," asked Detert.

Detert also questioned Bradley’s motives for the bill.

“Some cites, I think, San Antonio, Texas, being one, has now banned all outdoor smoking in the entire town, everywhere…is that the direction you would like to see us go in? I mean, is this the first step on the road to no smoking outdoors anywhere ever,” she asked.

“I can’t speak to others’ intentions. That’s not my intention,” replied Bradley.

Bradley later assured lawmakers he’d tighten the definition of a playground. The bill passed unanimously 8-0.

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