Initiative to split California into three states projected to make ballot

Glen Norman
June 15, 2018

For several years, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Timothy Draper has sought to break up California, citing its unwieldy size as damaging to the state's schools, livability and the economy.

Tim Draper is known for having insane ideas - and for funding them.

Draper's proposal to cut up the Golden State qualified on Tuesday to appear on the ballot in November's general election. Proponents of the CAL 3 initiative submitted more than 402,468 valid signatures as of Tuesday, making it eligible for the November 6 general election ballot, according to the California Secretary of State's office.

In terms of moving forward, if this initiative passes, the state legislature would have to pass an amendment then Congress would need to approve it. Then it would reach the US Congress.


Should this latest proposal become a reality, it would be the first division of a state since West Virginia split off from Virginia in 1863.

His group, headed by former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, has been hammering at the proposal for months, accusing Mr. Draper of dragging the state into an expensive mud-fight for a measure that has no prospects for success.

The idea of adding new Senators was strong enough to derail efforts to add Alaska and Hawaii as states for years.

Partitioning California into three states would increase the size of the U.S. Senate from 100 to 104 members, and the state's 55 electoral points would be divided among the three, according to Ballotpedia. "California government can do a better job addressing the real issues facing the state, but this measure is a massive distraction that will cause political chaos and greater inequality".


At an Amsterdam technology conference in April, the investor's praise of Bitcoin included some of the same messages he's used in support of splitting California into multiple pieces - namely, that residents will be free to move to whichever version of the state they think is governed best.

Even still, the proposal is as radical as it is unlikely to pass.

Will there soon be three Californias?

Many times. The California Legislature agreed to split off areas south of the Tehachapi Mountains into a separate territory in 1859. Three smaller states would change that equation, which worries some Democrats. State filings show he paid consultants and law firms almost $560,000 past year for work related to the proposal. The state of California would constitute a coastal strip running from Monterey to Los Angeles. The current plan divides the state into three roughly equal population districts; Northern California would include Sacramento and San Francisco. Even if it wins passage from voters, the measure would face significant hurdles.


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