A Republican-dominated Northern California county has declared secession from the rest of the state. The Record Searchlight reported Tuesday that the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of a declaration of secession.
According to the report, most of the over 100 people in attendance supported the measure, citing reasons such as unconstitutional laws, water rights and a $150 “rural fire prevention” fee assessed on rural homeowners.
The county hopes others in Northern California and Southern Oregon will join it. If successful, their new state would be called “Jefferson”, presumably after Thomas Jefferson. Importantly, Jefferson was a staunch supporter of individual liberty and minimal government, signaling an eventual new state could be a positive step for the liberty movement.
The move mirrors that of some Colorado counties. As CBS Denver reported in July, representatives from 10 counties met to map the boundaries of a new state they hope will represent the interests of rural residents. According to National Review Online, voters in five of the affected counties will vote on the matter this fall. Although the proposed name of “North Colorado” isn’t as inspiring as Jefferson, the secessionists are motivated by similar interests, mostly involving reducing government power.
For either to ultimately pan out, they’ll have to gain approval from the state Legislature and US Congress. In that sense, their efforts stand very little chance of success. However, it can’t hurt to try and, as some of the most important historical outcomes originally seemed impossible (including the birth of the United States), it will be interesting to see if the relevant California and Colorado (and perhaps Oregon) counties can free themselves from excessive government power.
If either effort proves successful, it would be the first time in 150 years a state has split. West Virginia seceded from Virginia in 1863. Other states that successfully seceded include Kentucky from Virginia, Maine from Massachusetts and Vermont from New Hampshire and New York.