Is the country about to get its 51st state? Leaders of the New California movement sure hope so.
Proponents of seceding from the largest West Coast state took steps Monday to achieve statehood by reading a Declaration of Independence from California, according to USA Today. The plan would break California into two states.
This is different from a separate campaign to divide California into three separate states, which made headlines last year and is seeking signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
The New California proposal's founders, Robert Preston and Tom Reed, said California is “ungovernable” as it stands now. They hope to convert much of modern rural California into New California, leaving the coastal urban areas behind.
"The current state of California has become governed by a tyranny," the group said in a document published online.
"After years of over taxation, regulation, and mono-party politics the State of California and many of its 58 counties have become ungovernable," the group said in a statement, according to USA Today.
A map of the proposed change has already surfaced online. Much of current California becomes New California, leaving pockets to remain as the current state.
"Claiming the authority of Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the aspiring 51st state plans to convince California's Legislature to split the state before submitting the resolution to Congress," according to USA Today.
According to CBS 13 in Sacramento, group organizers will follow the same path that West Virginia did to become its own state. They will need 10 to 18 months to prepare before meeting with the state Legislature.
“Yes. We have to demonstrate that we can govern ourselves before we are allowed to govern,” said secession movement co-founder Tom Reed.
If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because we’ve seen a push to break up California before.
In October 2017, a proposal to split California into three separate states “cleared its first hurdle,” according to NBC Bay Area.
California's secretary of state OK'd the ballot proposal for signature gathering by the plan’s proponent, billionaire Timothy C. Draper, to qualify for the November 2018 voting ballot. The initiative has 25 percent of the signatures needed to qualify and has until April 23 to reach the minimum 365,880 signatures, according to Ballotpedia.52 comments on this story
Draper, a venture capitalist and bitcoin enthusiast, told The New York Times that he hoped to divide the state into three areas — Southern California, Northern California and California — and give each area equal wealth and population.
Draper previously called to separate California into six states back in 2014, according to the Los Angeles Times. In fact, Draper spent $4.9 million collecting signatures for the proposal but fell short of receiving enough signatures to have it added to that year’s ballot.