SACRAMENTO — For the second time this year, the Assembly advanced legislation Wednesday that would make California the only state to ban smoking by anyone under age 21.
The backup bill is needed because similar legislation previously approved by the Assembly appears stalled in the Senate, said Assemblyman Rod Pacheco, R-Riverside.
He amended a Senate bill with the ban previously sought by Assemblyman Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood. The measure was sent back to committees for review after the amendments were added on a 42-10 roll call.
Assemblyman Dario Frommer, D-Los Angeles, called it “a smoke screen” and “a cynical ploy” to divert attention from Assembly Republicans’ opposition to a proposed $2.13 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes as part of Democrats’ plan to bridge the state’s $23.6 billion budget gap.
But the move drew support from Koretz and other Democrats, who said the combination of a tax increase and age limit increase would help reduce smoking particularly by young people.
And it drew opposition from Republicans who argued the state shouldn’t impose such a ban on legal adults, including those who serve in the military.