SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Property owners who let their lawns go dry to save water can thank Gov. Jerry Brown for signing a bill barring cities and counties from issuing fines for brown lawns during officially declared droughts.

Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, sponsored the legislation, which the governor signed on July 13.

Brown has said it’s counterintuitive to penalize people for saving water when the state is in its fourth year of a record drought. Officials have encouraged homeowners to let their lawns go brown, and many municipalities are no longer watering grass in street medians.

The assemblywoman has said her office fielded complaints from residents statewide complaining about fines for not watering their lawns.

The ban on brown lawn fines takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.

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