News Column

Lawmakers approve bill to pave way for drought-tolerant landscaping

August 19, 2014

By Timm Herdt, Ventura County Star, Calif.



Aug. 19--SACRAMENTO -- Kicking off a two-week lawmaking flurry before closing shop for the year, California legislators took actions on 143 bills on Monday, including a bill that would prohibit homeowners associations from penalizing those who convert lawns to drought-tolerant landscapes.

Other actions included Assembly passage of a resolution calling upon the National Football League to force the Washington Redskins to change their nickname to something less offensive Native Americans.

The Assembly also sent to the Senate for final approval a bill that would prohibit legislators from accepting free tickets to sporting events and amusement parks, as well as bar them from receiving free golf outings, spa treatments and hunting trips.

In addition, without dissent the Assembly sent back to the Senate for final approval SB 1135 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, which would prohibit sterilization for the purpose of birth control of any inmate confined in state prisons or county jails.

The Assembly also sent to Gov. Jerry Brown AB 1767 by Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, that would increase fines from $1,000 to $1,500 for those who deface property or illegally dump trash on the 69,000 acres of property controlled by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Revenue from the fines would be used for maintaining the parkland.

The vote on the resolution to the National Football League was 49-5, and among those in support was Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, whose wife is of Navajo heritage.

"It's so hard for them to believe they live in a tolerant society when they see these types of epithets and representations as mascots," Williams said.

AB 2104 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, would render unenforceable any "architectural standard" of a homeowners' association requiring grass lawns. That also was sent to the governor.

"Allowing homeowners the freedom to use conservation-friendly landscaping will be one important ingredient in reaching our goal of protecting our economy by saving water," Gonzalez said.

In addition, the Senate gave final approval to AB 2551 by Assemblyman Scott Wilk, which would require local governments to inform voters of the fiscal effects of all bond measures placed on the ballot.

Approved in the Assembly without dissent was SB 1036 by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, which would require the state Department of Water Resources to provide information to make it easier for local water districts to calculate the amount of energy used to run their water systems.

A few measures went down to defeat, including SB 1094 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, which would have given the attorney general greater authority when reviewing and acting upon proposals to sell or transfer nonprofit hospitals.

The bill was sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris and opposed by the California Hospital Association. It was defeated in the Senate on a 23-24 vote.

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(c)2014 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.)

Visit Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.) at www.vcstar.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Ventura County Star (CA)


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