BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1164


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          Date of Hearing:   September 11, 2015


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT


                              Brian Maienschein, Chair


          AB 1164  
          (Gatto) - As Amended September 4, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Water conservation: drought tolerant landscaping.


          SUMMARY:  Prohibits cities and counties from enacting or  
          enforcing any ordinance or regulation that prohibits the  
          installation of drought tolerant landscaping, synthetic grass,  
          or artificial turf on residential property. Specifically, this  
          bill:


          1)Prohibits a city, including a charter city, county, or city  
            and county, from enacting any ordinance or regulation, or  
            enforce any existing ordinance or regulation, that prohibits  
            the installation of drought tolerant landscaping, synthetic  
            grass, or artificial turf on residential property.


          2)Allows a city, including a charter city, county, or city and  
            county, to impose reasonable restrictions on the type of  
            drought tolerant landscaping, synthetic grass, or artificial  
            turf that may be installed on residential property provided  
            that those restrictions do not do any of the following:


             a)   Substantially increase the cost of installing drought  
               tolerant landscaping, synthetic grass, or artificial turf;








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             b)   Effectively prohibit the installation of drought  
               tolerant landscaping, synthetic grass or artificial turf;  
               or,


             c)   Significantly impede the installation of drought  
               tolerant landscaping, including, but not limited to, a  
               requirements that a residential yard must be completely  
               covered with living plant material.


          3)Makes a number of findings and declarations.


          4)Contains an urgency clause, and specifies the facts  
            constituting the necessity are:


            In order to address the historic, prolonged, and potentially  
            devastating drought, it is necessary that residents of this  
            state be able to replace water inefficient landscaping with  
            drought tolerant landscaping as quickly as possible.  


          EXISTING LAW delegates, pursuant to the California Constitution,  
          the police power to cities and counties to make and enforce  
          within limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances  
          and regulations not in conflict with general laws.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, no state costs are anticipated as a result of  
          provisions that prohibit cities and counties from enacting or  
          enforcing specified ordinances and regulations prohibiting  
          synthetic grass.










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          COMMENTS:  


          1)Bill Summary.  This bill prohibits cities and counties from  
            enacting or enforcing any ordinance or regulation that  
            prohibits the installation of drought tolerant landscaping,  
            synthetic grass, or artificial turf on residential property,  
            and applies to all cities, including charter cities, and all  
            counties.  This bill is sponsored by the author and contains  
            an urgency clause.

          2)Background.  Governor Brown issued two proclamations of a  
            State of Emergency in early 2014 due to severe and ongoing  
            drought conditions.  In light of the impacts of the drought on  
            water supply, the Governor issued Executive Order B-29-15 on  
            April 1, 2015, which includes orders to save water, increase  
            enforcement against water waste, invest in new technologies,  
            and streamline government response, as specified.  Among its  
            provisions, the Executive Order requires the State Water  
            Resources Control Board to impose restrictions to achieve a  
            statewide 25 percent reduction in potable urban water usage  
            through February 28, 2016, and requires the Department of  
            Water Resources (DWR) to lead a statewide initiative, in  
            partnership with local agencies, to replace 50 million square  
            feet of lawns and ornamental turf with drought tolerant  
            landscapes.  DWR is directed to provide funding to allow for  
            lawn replacement programs in underserved communities to  
            complement existing local programs.

            In response to the directive in the Executive Order, DWR has  
            developed the Turf Replacement Initiative, consisting of three  
            integrated program components:









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             a)   A Residential Turf Rebate Program, which provides  
               customer rebates and contractor direct rebates for  
               residential turf removal and replacement efforts.


             b)   A Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Turf  
               Replacement Program targeting turf removal and replacement  
               on government and commercial sites in underserved  
               communities of the San Joaquin Valley.


             c)   A Statewide Campaign to Promote Drought Tolerant  
               Landscapes, which is a DWR partnership with state,  
               regional, local, and nonprofit entities to publicize the  
               rebate initiative and communicate the benefits of  
               converting lawns to drought tolerant landscapes, including  
               outreach, community engagement, and technical support.


            The 2015 Budget Act includes $25 million in Proposition 1  
            general obligation bond funds designated for water use  
            efficiency to fund DWR's Turf Replacement Initiative.  This  
            level of funding is expected to support the conversion of over  
            10 million square feet of turf.  The guidelines for the  
            Residential Turf Rebate Program specify the state program  
            rebate amount will be $2 per square foot of turf removed with  
            a maximum rebate of $2,000 per household.  The guidelines  
            require rebated portions of converted landscapes to only  
            include low water use, drought tolerant, or California native  
            plants, and prohibit the use of rebates for live or synthetic  
            turf on converted landscapes.


            Existing law, Article XI, Section 7 of the California  
            Constitution, vests cities and counties with the police power  
            to make and enforce within their limits all local, police,  
            sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict  
            with general laws.  Courts have interpreted the police power  
            as including the power to regulate the physical of appearance  








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            of the environment within a community, including ordinances  
            that enforce aesthetic standards.  Some California local  
            governments have adopted ordinances that ban residents from  
            using synthetic grass or artificial turf to replace natural  
            turf lawns.


          3)Author's Statement.  According to the author, "California is  
            in the fourth year of an unparalleled drought, the worst in  
            the State's recorded history. However, despite this dire  
            situation and the ambitious water use reductions goals facing  
            cities and water agencies, some Californians seeking to save  
            water are facing barriers to doing so. 
            


            "One of the areas with the highest potential water use savings  
            is landscape irrigation, which accounts for nearly 43% of  
            urban water use in California-making it the largest user of  
            urban water. Reducing this type of use, whether by decreasing  
            watering of lawns, replacing lawns with drought tolerant  
            landscapes, or replacing lawns with turf will be necessary to  
            meet water reduction goals. 


            "This bill lifts outdated bans on the use of artificial turf  
            on front lawns and also provides funds to local governments  
            and water agencies to provide incentives for those who want to  
            replace their existing lawns with drought-tolerant  
            landscaping. This bill will give Californians more tools to do  
            their part to save water during the state's continuing drought  
            while also facilitating more sustainable long-term outdoor  
            irrigation practices."


          4)Arguments in Support.  Supporters argue that the bill is  
            necessary to lift outdated bans on the installation of  
            artificial turf statewide, and that outdoor landscaping is one  
            of the areas with the highest potential for water use savings.








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          5)Arguments in Opposition.  None on file.

          6)Urgency Measure.  This bill is an urgency measure and requires  
            a two-thirds vote of each house.
          


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          American Planning Association, California Chapter


          Association of California Water Agencies


          Burbank Water and Power


          California Association of Realtors


          California Landscape Contractors Association


          California Municipal Utilities Association


          Honorable Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles


          San Diego County Water Authority









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          The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California 


          Three Valleys Municipal Water District




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Debbie Michel / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958