Sarasota County commissioners don't have the authority to ban smoking at public beaches, outdoor sports facilities or parks.
The county attorney told commissioners Tuesday that a recent court decision related to the city of Sarasota's proposed smoking ban ruled that local governments do not have the authority to ban smoking in public outdoor areas. Only the Florida Legislature can ban smoking on beaches and parks.
The Herald-Tribune reports that one commissioner immediately called for county leaders to push the Legislature to introduce a bill giving counties the authority to ban smoking in public outdoor places.
In December, Sarasota County Judge Maryann Boehm ruled that the Sarasota's tough new ordinance banning smoking in public parks was unenforceable, and that regulating smoking was a task left to the Legislature.