Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown clears way for artificial turf, blasts Prop. 218

Brian Lopes, front, and Derick Caron, installers with Pacific Grass and Turf, roll out sections of artificial grass to be cut and placed on Monday, June 8, 2015, at a client’s home in North Natomas.
Brian Lopes, front, and Derick Caron, installers with Pacific Grass and Turf, roll out sections of artificial grass to be cut and placed on Monday, June 8, 2015, at a client’s home in North Natomas. lsterling@sacbee.com

Go ahead and rip out that lawn.

With California withering through a multiyear drought, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation banning cities and counties from prohibiting drought-tolerant landscaping, including synthetic grass and artificial turf.

Assembly Bill 1164, by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, follows similar legislation Brown signed protecting artificial turf from homeowners association rules.

The bill was among several water-related measures Brown signed Friday. In a signing message for one of them, the fourth-term Democrat took aim at Proposition 218, a 1996 ballot measure prohibiting municipalities from charging fees that exceed the cost of providing a service.

The state Supreme Court this summer left intact a Proposition 218-related ruling that makes it harder for municipalities to impose tiered pricing to discourage heavy water use.

In a signing message on a bill to develop a plan for a low-income water rate assistance program, Brown wrote that Proposition 218 “serves as the biggest impediment to public water systems being able to establish low-income rate assistance programs.”

He also called the measure, approved by 56.5 percent of voters, an “obstacle to thoughtful, sustainable water conservation pricing and necessary flood and stormwater system improvements.”

Brown said his administration will work with the Legislature next year “to address these problems,” though he did not say how.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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