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An Attempt to Legally Mandate Native Plants Throughout California Has Failed

This is a story of the influence of interest groups on the process of making new laws.  When Assembly Bill 1573 was introduced in February 2023, it seemed to be primarily a water-saving measure that would “eliminate the use of irrigation of nonfunctional turf” (turf that is not a recreational area or community space with foot traffic).  AB1573 also mandated that all new or renovated nonresidential areas install not less than 25% local native plants by 2026, 50% local native plants by 2030, and 75% local native plants by 2035.  It defined local native plants as “California indigenous plants to an area that have evolved and occur naturally in the Jepson Region associated with a specific California location.”