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New law prohibits some fines for brown lawns during droughts

New law prohibits homeowners associations from fining residents for not watering their lawns during droughts

Californians who let their lawns die during a drought won't risk a slap on the wrist from their homeowners' associations, thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.

The measure prohibits homeowners' associations from imposing fines on residents who stop watering their lawns in an effort to conserve water.

“We can’t be sending mixed messages about the importance of conserving water during this drought," said the bill's author, Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose) in a statement.

"Fines for wasting water make sense. Fines for not watering your lawn don’t," Campos added. "We shouldn’t punish people who are doing the right thing. We need every drop of water.”

The bill, AB 2100, echoes the executive action issued by the governor in April, which ordered homeowners' associations from fining residents for brown lawns. This new law would apply during local and statewide droughts.

The law takes effect immediately. It does not apply to fines imposed by local governments, so it would not put an end to citations being issued by some Southern California cities, such as Glendora and Anaheim. 

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

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