Cigarette sculptures highlight Joe Gruters pressure to quell smoking on the beach
Senator Joe gruters for years battled the unsightly cigarette butts that litter Florida beaches. Now, a work of art could get this message across at home.
Gruters joined the Ocean conservancy for a press conference on Siesta Beach to discuss its latest legislative attempt to clean up the shoreline. Around the speakers stood the work of the sculptor from Sarasota Erin Ernst, depictions of oversized cigarette butts crumpled in the sand.
The art itself was made from tiny fibers of plastic, another poorly recycled material posing a threat to Florida waters. The public presentation of the work serves to highlight the environmental challenge facing Florida tourist destinations.
Again, Gruters introduced legislation (SB 224) that would give cities and counties the right to regulate smoking on beaches and public parks. Legislation already erased the Senate Committee on Community Affairs unanimously. But he’s worked for years to pass some form of bill since coming to the Senate to see it muffled before a vote in the room.
“I’m optimistic this year,” said Gruters, noting that momentum had built up well ahead of the session.
Frequently he discussed the international fame and expert lists for Siesta Key, which on several occasions exceeded the Dr Beach rankings. But these rankings take into account whether the beaches allow smoking.
“Dr. Beach walked the beach last year and he’s very excited about it,” said Gruters. “It’s a winning case on the environment and on the economy.
Under Florida law, smoking is allowed on all beaches, and local governments cannot put in place local ordinances regarding their own parks, which is made clear when the courts have rejected a county restriction. of Sarasota in 2013.
“I think it’s great for Sarasota County to be in the lead because we’re the ones who went through this lawsuit,” said Gruters. “This can be the first step in returning that power to local governments. “
Gruters appeared with her three children on the famous beach in Senate District 23.
There, the Ocean Conservancy noted that for 31 consecutive years, cigarette butts were the most common object found on Florida beaches during cleanups.
The Gruters bill is now waiting to be heard by the Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. An accompanying bill sponsored by Rep. Randy good (HB 105) is now a member of the Chamber Professions and Public Health subcommittee.
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