California Drought: Gov. Brown Signs Bill Barring Fines for Brown Lawns

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Cities and counties will no longer be able to impose fines on residents for unsightly brown lawns while the state is in a drought, under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday afternoon.

A brown lawn is pictured next to a green one in Perris. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A brown lawn is pictured next to a green one in Perris. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The measure, by Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D-Rialto) prohibits local governments from issuing fines for violations of “lawn maintenance” ordinances when the governor has declared a state of emergency due to drought conditions.

Brown has said she’s aware of a number of cities, including Glendora,Upland and San Bernardino, that have levied fines or issued warnings to residents who allowed their lawns to go brown.

The measure is the most recent effort by the Legislature to encourage homeowners to let their lawns “fade to gold.” Last year, Brown signed a measure that barred homeowners’ associations from punishing their residents for unwatered lawns.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified one of the cities that have levied fines. It is Glendora, not Glendale. The story has been updated.