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  • Writer's pictureDaibik Chakraborty

The Cal 3 Initiative


In April of 2018, venture capitalist Tim Draper declared that he had collected over 600,000 signatures for the Cal 3 initiative, a proposal to split California into three different states. The initiative qualified on June 2018 to have its place on the November 2018 midterm elections for voters to vote on.

Draper believes that having three smaller states would allow the state government and state representatives to serve its people better with better infrastructure, educational systems, and lower taxes; a bigger state does not allow for individualized attention to cities or counties that need it. It would also allow for proportional representation in the legislative branch. Critics claim that as individual and smaller states, it will become difficult for impoverished areas to overcome their economic hardships while coastal regions flourish. This is because poorer states will be less able to pay taxes for government spending while economically stronger states can pay more tax to better increase quality of life. In addition, the partition of resources such as water will be held to debate as well as out-of-state tuition costs for students in one of the three Californias trying to pursue post-secondary education in a different California.

California will be split into Northern California, California, and Southern California, each with responsible for roughly ⅓ of the current state population. The divisions will be as follows:

Northern California: Bay area and 40+ counties north of Sacramento (Pop. 13 million)

California: Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito counties (Pop. 12.3 million)

Southern California: San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, Mono, Madera, Inyo, Tulare, Fresno, Kings, Kern and Imperial counties (Pop. 14 million)

In the event that the majority of California voters vote for the Cal 3 initiative, a legislative process will ensue. Article IV, Section 3 of the United States constitution will be invoked as it says:

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States 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.

This means the governor will then notify the United States congress of California’s approval of diving the state into thirds. Congress will then have to ratify the approval, allowing California to split. However, due to partisan agenda, Jonathan Turley, a constitutional lawyer, says that the split is unlikely-though not impossible-to happen.

However, if the initiative does get ratified by Congress, it will shift the way California is represented in the legislative process. Four new senators will be added to the now 100 member senate (2 from NorCal and 2 from SoCal). This will allow California to have more influence in the senate. Electoral college representation of the 55 electoral votes will be split between the states based on population, however, these electoral votes are said to be more likely to better represent regional interest during election season.

Cal 3 is one of over 200 initiatives to split California since its ratification into the union.



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