YREKA, Calif. - If a fired up group in Northern California has its way, we may soon need to stitch one more star on to the Stars and Stripes. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday in favor of a declaration of secession from the Golden State. Residents say they are fed up with what they see as a lack of representation, and over-regulation, at the state capitol. Supporters of the radical plan say they want other rural counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon to join them in the creation of a new state called the 'Jefferson'. "Many proposed laws are unconstitutional and deny us our God-given rights," Gabe Garrison of Happy Camp said at the meeting. "We need our own state so we can make laws that fit our way of life."
Garrison was among more than 100 people who attended the meeting, and most were in support of the declaration. However, the process would not be easy, requiring approval from the state Legislature and the U.S. Congress, but supporters say it would restore local control over decision-making. According to the Redding Record Searchlight, residents of the majority-Republican county urged the board to consider secession. In addition to a lack of representation in Sacramento, they cited concerns about local water rights and a new rural fire prevention fee. The $150 annual fee was approved by the Legislature in 2011 to offset the costs of providing fire service to people who live far from services.
"I haven't had one contact in regard to this issue that's in opposition," Supervisor Michael Kobseff said about the secession declaration. But if the newly formed "Jefferson" hopes to be the first new state to join the Union since Hawaii in 1959, it will have to hurry. Because 'secession fever' has also arisen in some Colorado counties, where residents there are also considering seceding from their state. The issue is on the ballot in at least three counties and also involves local displeasure of recent actions by that state's legislature.
Find out more about the proposed state of "Jefferson" on the Jefferson Statehood Project website.