Some state legislators in the Washington House are calling for the state to split and create a new breakaway state utilizing the process outlined in Article IV of the Constitution.
Introduced by Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) and Rep. Bob McCaslin (R-Spokane Valley), House Joint Memorial 4000 (HJM4000) petitions Congress to create a 51st state out of Eastern Washington, which would be named “Liberty.” The new state border would be from the crest of the Cascade Mountains east to the existing state border.
The resolution has not been assigned to a committee yet.
Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution describes the process for creating a new state from part of an existing state mandating both the State House and Senate as well as Congress agree to it.
That section reads as follows (bold emphasis added):
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress. The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Since the Constitution’s ratification, the Article IV, Section 3 process has been used numerous times to create breakaway states including Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Maine.
The political climate in western and eastern Washington are vastly different. With most of the population in the west, particularly the Seattle area, that region dominates state politics, leaving many in the east feeling like they lack representation.
“There are many who like to say we are ‘One Washington.’ Are we really? While it makes for a cute slogan to try and placate the disenfranchised, the fact is, many citizens living in the eastern part of the state are tired of being run over, ignored and downright marginalized by the power brokers in King County,” Shea said. “It’s the one issue I hear about the most when traveling around Eastern Washington.”
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