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California Residents Can’t Be Fined For Allowing Lawns To Turn Brown During Drought

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A home with a dead lawn stands in front of hills that are browned with dried grass on July 18, 2014 in Fremont, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A home with a dead lawn stands in front of hills that are browned with dried grass on July 18, 2014 in Fremont, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MattBigler20100909_KCBS_0384r Matt Bigler
KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – A new law has been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown that protects homeowners who are doing their part to conserve water during the drought, by allowing their lawns to go brown.

Governor Brown signed AB2100 on Monday. The bill by Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D–San Jose) prohibits homeowner associations from penalizing residents who fail to water their lawns during the drought.

Some residents across the state have already received warnings about under watering their lawns, including Michael and Laura Korte. The couple, who live in the Southern California city of Glendora, thought they were just doing their part to conserve. But instead, they received a warning letter.

California Residents Can’t Be Fined For Allowing Lawns To Turn Brown During Drought

brown lawn California Residents Can’t Be Fined For Allowing Lawns To Turn Brown During Drought
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“It said you have 60 days to get your lawn looking like this or else,” Laura Korte said. “And the penalty was fines of $100 to $500 or criminal prosecution, whatever that means,” said Michael Korte.

The warnings came even after the governor declared a drought emergency in January and called for all residents and businesses to reduce water use by 20 percent.

Although the bill does protect homeowners from being penalized by HOAs, it does not prevent homeowner groups from fining residents who fail to maintain their yards, by letting weeds and other plants grow out of control, as that increases the risk of wildfires.

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