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N.J. Senate Passes Bill Altering Penalties For Smoking In Public

A man smokes a cigarette. (credit: Getty Images)

A man smokes a cigarette. (credit: Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New Jersey Senate has passed a bill that would allow municipalities to issue civil rather than criminal fines for violations of public smoking bans.

Advocates say the change is a way to levy penalties without consuming as much time in the municipal court system.

The Senate delayed a vote on a law that would have prohibited smoking at beaches and public parks in New Jersey.

Supporters were mad that the bill was amended to allow towns to set aside up to 20 percent of a beach or park as a smoking area.

The state Assembly in March passed a bill calling for the smoking ban.

Editor’s note: An earlier Associated Press report incorrectly identified the bill that passed as one which would ban smoking on beaches. 

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