The state Senate has passed a bill to ban apartment residents from smoking in their apartments. The Assembly is also weighing a measure that would allow owners to prohibit smoking in apartment buildings. A few cities in California already have smoking bans in place.

“This year, consumer protection bills are getting an added emphasis, given the limitations presented by the budget,” said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), who authored the bill.

Chillin' Instead of Grillin'

Apartment and condo residents in California can unwind on their wooden balconies with a cold lemonade this summer, but many won’t be allowed to fire up their outdoor grills. State officials recently made it against the law to grill on many wooden balconies and patios.

Not all barbecuing is off limits. Grilling with charcoal and natural gas is still OK on apartment decks with automatic sprinklers. All grilling is OK if patios are made of stucco, concrete, or brick.

On May 3, a three-alarm fire broke out in an apartment building in Sunnyvale. The blaze originated from a grill on a second-floor balcony. The law has been in effect since Jan. 1, but with the advent of grilling season beginning on Memorial Day, many residents are just hearing about the ban from recent fliers on their doorsteps.