Bold California initiative to split state in 3 faces hurdles

David McNew  Getty Images North America

David McNew Getty Images North America

The Cal 3 initiative gathered and submitted to the California Secretary of State office more than double the required signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, representing citizens who supported the opportunity to declare their desire for a new direction.

Venture capitalist and CAL 3 Chairman Tim Draper speaks during a press conference after announcing he has collected more than 600,000 signatures to put the plan to partition California into three states into the November ballot in San Mateo, California, April 12, 2018.

The proposal would make California the L.A. area, Northern California and Southern Cal would be the other two new states. On Tuesday, elections officials said a sample of the signatures projects more than 402,468 of them are valid - more than enough to be included on a November ballot that could see as many as 16 propositions by the deadline for certification later this month.

The initiative, which easily cleared the signature-gathering bar, would direct the governor to ask Congress for permission to split the states into the three entities, and charge the state legislature with dividing up California's assets and liabilities. 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.

The initiative depends on Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, where the document sets the conditions under which a state can split itself up.

Under the proposal, each state would have about one-third of the state population.

In 2014, Draper failed with a similar proposal: To split the Golden State into six smaller governments.

Graphic of the State of California shows the divisions of a proposed initiative to split the state into three states
Graphic of the State of California shows the divisions of a proposed initiative to split the state into three states

Plenty of ideas about splintering California into smaller states have popped up - including an effort by rural, more conservative northern counties that seek to break away to become "State of Jefferson".

The California State flag flies beside a sign for Los Angeles' sister city Split outside City Hall, in LA in 2017.

The upper portion of the state, which would include San Francisco and the state capital Sacramento, would become Northern California.

"While this measure anticipates action to divide California's debts and secure congressional approval within two years after voter approval, it would be hard for this timeline to be put into practice", the state report concluded.

- "California" would be made up of six mainly coastal counties, including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. "This isn't about politics - this is about sustainable solutions to intractable issues that impact Californians every day - like our local schools, infrastructure and government responsiveness".

"When you get together and you start something fresh, you have a new way to look at it and create better things" he added.

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