Some residents of Illinois have been calling for the establishment of a new state because of their financial difficulties, corruption, and other issues.
The non-partisan, nonprofit New Illinois organization was founded in 2018. It aims to educate Illinoisans about their constitutional rights to seek the formation of a new Illinois state. According to the organization, policies that address major urban areas like Cook County may not be in line with the rest.
G.H. New Illinois Chair said, “We are a split organization. Our areas of focus include representative government, corruption and our state’s fiscal disaster.” Merritt spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
From 1976 to 2020, Northern Illinois, which includes Chicago, saw the most federal public corruption convictions of any federal judicial district. According to an anti-corruption report from University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois as a whole ranks third among all states in terms of corruption. Susanna Mendoza, State Comptroller, announced that Illinois is on track to increase its debt by more than $6 billion in 2022.
Merritt called Illinois General Assembly “a huge abuser of shell bill.”
She explained to the DCNF that these are bills with innocuous content. “The bill is later rewritten and replaced by other content that politicians don’t want the public to see.”
The U.S. Constitution permits the creation of a new state from parts of an existing state with approval by the legislature and Congress.
In recent years, Illinois has been plagued with violent crime. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, Illinois had the ninth highest homicide death rate in 2020. The Chicago Police Department reported more homicides in the first half of 2018 than any other U.S. agency.
Merritt stated that “anytime there’s a new problem in the state it has the potential for increasing public interest in our work.” New Illinois has more than 20 counties covered by committees.
Illinois isn’t the only state where there has been a split movement. In Oregon, 11 counties have already voted in favor of merging into Idaho as part of the “Greater Idaho” movement, which calls for those counties and four others to join the Republican-controlled state, according to KMVT 11. Merritt stated that New Illinois is in close contact with New California. This group complains about California’s “overtaxation, regulation and mono-party politics” and supports the creation of what would be the sixth-largest county out of parts of it.
Merrit shared with the DCNF that she also had contact with people from Colorado’s Weld County about becoming part of Wyoming. Merrit was talking to a Minnesota representative who talked to them about adding some counties to South Dakota, and with individuals from West Virginia who were interested in merging with West Virginia.
It would be a remarkable achievement to create a new state by “splitting”, despite numerous attempts.
West Virginia was the last U.S. state to be formed by separating from an existing state. It did so during the Civil War. Similar efforts were made later with other states, including South Dakota, Kansas, and Arizona.
According to reports, 27 Illinois counties voted for referendums to explore ways to leave Illinois. Southern Illinois University Carbondale visiting Professor John Jackson stated to the Journal-Courier they are unlikely to form a new state. He said such a reform would be “a disaster for central and southern Illinois.”
Jackson stated in the Journal-Courier that “Congress isn’t going to get into creating new states.” Merrit pointed out that the New Illinois organisation was not involved in the referendums.
Democratic Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s Office did not respond to Daily Caller News Foundation’s request.