In Oregon, Republican State Senator Dennis Linthicum has filed a bill known as Joint Memorial 2 that could become one of the most important documents in American history. The new legislation could signal the first time in over 150 years that a group of counties votes to leave a state.
According to the bill, reported by Timcast News, 15 counties would be allowed to leave the state of Oregon to join the state of Idaho.
The last time anything similar to this happened in the U.S. was during the Civil War when West Virginia was born in 1863 with pro-Union northwestern counties breaking away from Confederate Richmond.
Up until the Civil War, state border changes were a fairly common occurrence as our nation grew with borders being pretty fluid for almost a century.
Until 1784 Virginia claimed the entire Ohio River valley and extended across present-day Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin all the way to Minnesota. The northern half of Pennsylvania was West Connecticut. Tennessee used to be part of North Carolina, Kentucky was once the Westernmost portion of Virginia and Georgia once reached the Mississippi River.
The “Greater Idaho Bill” as it is titled makes the case with key points that are difficult to deny.
- “Article XVI of the Oregon Constitution provides for the relocation of state boundaries”
- “the Washington/Oregon border was relocated slightly in 1958”
- “state borders have been relocated many times in the history of the United States, most recently in 1999, by interstate compacts pursuant to Article I, section 10, of the United States Constitution”
- “state border relocations have moved entire counties into the jurisdiction of another state, as in the case of Berkeley County and Jefferson County, which became a part of West Virginia in 1863-several months after West Virginia was admitted to the Union without those counties”
As justification, the bill provides that, “the voting patterns of eastern Oregon have for many decades resembled the voting patterns of Idaho but not of Oregon, indicating a desire for a different style of governance,” and notes that “eastern Oregonians have begun to see Oregon government as a threat to the livelihoods, liberties, and values of their communities, as the preferences of the voters of northwestern Oregon appear at odds with the livelihoods and values of eastern Oregon communities.”
The Greater Idaho Movement states on its website that, “this proposal is different from creating a new state because it does not affect the balance of power in the US Senate. This means that it’s more likely to be approved by the Oregon Legislature.”
Matt McCaw, a spokesman for the Greater Idaho Movement told The Daily Mail Sunday, “Eastern Oregon is culturally, politically, economically much more similar to Idaho than it is to western Oregon.”
“Our movement is about self-determination and matching people to government that they want and that matches their values. In Oregon, we've had this urban-rural divide for a very long time.”
He added, “Our proposal is to take that border between Oregon and Idaho, which was set almost 200 years ago in a very different time when there was only 50,000 people in the state of Oregon…it made sense then, it doesn't make sense now to have that border there because that's not where the cultural divide is.”