By Jim Sanders
A bill to bar millions of Californians from smoking inside their own homes was rejected Wednesday by an Assembly committee.
Assembly Bill 746 would have made California the first state to venture into personal bedrooms and living rooms with smoking restrictions. It targeted condominiums, duplexes and apartments.
Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, proposed the measure to ensure that people who live in structures that share walls, ceilings, floors or ventilation systems with neighboring units are not subject to secondhand smoke.
The bill was rejected 5-2 by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee despite several amendments, including one that would have delayed fines from being issued until 2015.
Landlords already can prohibit smoking in their rental units, through a law enacted last year, but Levine's bill would have imposed a mandatory ban statewide.
AB 746 would have permitted outdoor smoking near apartments or condos, but only in an area at least 20 feet from any housing unit and 100 feet from a playground, school or pool. The bill's critics questioned who would enforce it, how, and what impact the bill would have on habitual smokers or on people with disabilities who could not easily leave their residences to smoke.
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