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State No. 51? Backers Envision 'New California'

Here is what's behind the longshot 'New California' movement
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2018 12:07 PM CST
Group Wants to Nab Most of California for 51st State
Should California become 2 states?   (Getty/Frankljunior)

(Newser) – Attempts to forge an independent California have failed, as have previous efforts to split the state into several distinct ones. But the "New California" movement hopes for a different outcome this time around. Backers hope to carve out a new state from existing state land—so there'd be a California and a New California—and they say they can do so via the Constitution. Their chance of success? Virtually non-existent, by most accounts, but the idea is still drawing some attention. Details:

  • The new map: You can see it here on the group's Facebook page. New California would encompass most of the existing state, except for the coastal area from roughly San Francisco down to Los Angeles. Think urban vs rural, or perhaps more aptly, liberal vs. conservative.
  • How? This wouldn't be a secession but the creation of a new state, and the group says New California would be formed just as West Virginia was. They cite Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution, per USA Today. The short version: First they convince the state legislature to agree to the split, then get Congress to approve.

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  • Why? Group founders Robert Paul Preston and Tom Reed see the current state government as "tyrannical" and take issue with everything from high taxes, education, transportation, and law enforcement to state parks, water resource management, and voter rights. They have a declaration of independence and a website.
  • Deja vu?: "Here we go again," writes Abby Hamblin at the San Diego Union-Tribune. "To be blunt about all this: It’s a long shot. Let’s repeat that again. It’s a long shot."
  • What it would mean: If successful, the movement would create the sixth-largest state in the country, one with a conservative lean, per Newsweek.
  • Time frame: Movement organizers say it will take 10 to 18 months before they can get the ball rolling with the state legislature, per CBS Sacramento.
(Read more California stories.)

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