More evidence is in to support the old theory that legislative ideas move from west to east in the United States. This is primarily because California remains a hotbed for progressive ideas of all sorts. California Senate Bill 747 is back for 2014 in an amended form. It would allow the state to levy $20,000 on retailers or producers of products that might contribute to “public health epidemics” for “risk assessments and mitigation documents” which then could be used for regulatory purposes. The “adverse impact” on public health in California would have to exceed $50 million before the provisions of the statute would apply. The bill as amended is scheduled for a hearing Jan. 15 before the Senate Health Committee. Also in California, the Berkeley-based Sustainable Economics Legal Center, which helped draft and pass the state’s new Cottage Food Law, is going to be seeking support for a bill making it a right to grow food. It is essentially a measure to trump city zoning laws that often limit urban farming activities. Some cities have eased up on urban farming as it has become a more popular activity, but not enough, according to the center’s Christina Oatfield. She says California cities are not keeping up with the urban agriculture movement. The California bill will address the growth and sale of edible plants, but will not address the popular backyard poultry movement for producing eggs. The center has apparently decided that backyard animal farms cause more problems for cities. Meanwhile, Big Island Councilwoman Brenda Ford wants a ban on all genetically modified crops in Hawaii County. Ford is bringing back the issue many thought was decided a month ago when Hawaii County limited GMO production to contained facilities such as greenhouses and exempted Hawaii’s genetically engineered papaya crop and its Big Island Dairy. Ford insists that re-visiting the issue is not a waste of time, although she also said she doesn’t expect a ban to pass. What’s important, she indicated, is that the county discusses the issue going forward.