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Big hurdles for bold push to split California into 3 states
14 June 2018, 07:32 | Tara Lloyd
Proposal to split California into three states earns spot on ballot | TheHill
California residents will get a chance to vote on a measure to divide the Golden State into three separate states, election officials said Tuesday.
The initiative has been spearheaded and funded by billionaire venture capitalist, Tim Draper, who said splitting California into three states would "emphasize representation, responsiveness, reliability and regional identity".
Cal 3, as this campaign is called, would create the states of Northern California, Southern California and a narrow central coast strip retaining the name California, as described on the website.
The CAL3 initiative has gathered 600,000 signatures, 235,000 more than required to qualify for the ballot.
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Southern California would include the counties of Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Tulare. More recently, a group of Californians proposed the state leave the union altogether (they called it Calexit) after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. Congress admitted four US states that were split from an existing state: Kentucky, Maine, Vermont, and lastly West Virginia in 1863 during the Civil War. And one of those states, based on past election results, could be won by a Republican.
Draper's original plan had been to split California into six smaller states, but that campaign failed to collect enough signatures and died in 2014.
Lawmakers would only have 12 months after congressional approval to set the new rules; otherwise the state's debts would automatically split between the three new ones.
Californians have long debated whether they were better as a whole or in parts.
In a letter explaining the initiative Draper stated California has become almost ungovernable and numerous regions of the state are inadequately represented in Sacramento.
The state of Northern California would contain 40 counties, including those in the Sacramento and Bay areas.
In the political sphere, the measure would create two reliably blue states and one swing state, analysts say. Each of the three new states would have to adopt a new constitution by convention or popular vote. The new states would then make their own decisions about taxes and spending.
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