FRESNO, Calif.—The New California State movement held its 4th Constitutional Convention on May 17, 2019, to discuss the idea of a “new California.”
New California is a statewide grassroots movement that aims to break away most of California’s rural areas from the current California in order to claim independence and form a new state.
Currently, representatives from 47 of the 58 counties in California have joined the movement. Fractions of 5 other counties have also joined.
The movement started on January 15, 2018. New California activists say they are following guidelines in Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the same process that West Virginia used in separating from Virginia in 1861.
According to this section of the Constitution, new states are permitted to be created and admitted into the United States. The two regulations are: (1) a new state cannot be created inside an existing state, and (2) forming a new state by joining sections of multiple states requires consent from state legislatures and Congress.
Paul Preston, the founder of the movement, explained: “When we started this little trek, we wanted to have a model to follow after looking at the Constitution.”
They have been taking West Virginia as their model.
“We realized years ago that there was insurrection coming here to California,” Preston said. “Five years ago, when you look back on it, you can kind of see the patterning and everything that goes along with this sort of march toward totalitarian.”
He said that West Virginia split from Virginia due to the political differences and views of the Confederacy of the time. The new State of West Virginia had the hopes of re-sorting their government.
A new state was created through a process of developing a new legislature, electing a governor, and appealing to the U.S. Congress.
Preston said the Constitution was “designed for a peaceful process for change.”
In order to establish a new state, the movement will have to overcome some difficulties. The U.S. Constitution requires that the formation of a new state from an existing state must be approved by the legislature of the existing state. What motives the California legislature would have for allowing the rural areas to form a new state is unclear.
In addition, the U.S. Senate must approve the forming of the new state. Doing so would likely require 60 votes to bring the matter before the Senate for a vote.
As the Senate is currently constituted, this would require several Democrats to vote to create a new, likely Republican, state and to diminish the electoral power of California. California gives their party a significant advantage in presidential contests.
During the convention, speakers voiced their criticism of the current state of California, and they spoke about why they believe a New California is necessary.
One of the speakers, Agnes Gibboney, said that she lost her son to an illegal immigrant who shot and killed him.
“The media never talks about real separation of families. … My son had two little boys who were 8 and 10 at the time,” Gibboney said. “Do they talk about that kind of separation of families? No, they don’t want to hear about it. And do they talk about my separation of families, six feet of dirt in a coffin? They don’t want to talk about it.”
The idea of sanctuary cities and states and protecting undocumented immigrants continues to be a controversy within California and the rest of the country. While statistics show that crime committed by illegal immigrants has decreased under the Trump administration, it still remains a hot-button issue in the country.
“I’m tired of being pushed around by our government, who’s supposed to be upholding our laws, supposed to be fighting for our country,” Gibboney said.
New California activists say they want a government that puts citizens first and upholds the laws.
Chriss Street, global financial consultant and writer for American Thinker, described a possible future for a new California. Accounting is one way to push California toward better development and business, Street thinks.
“[Wall Street doesn’t] have California’s account. What if [Wall Street] could have three quarters of California? Having a new opportunity is great for Wall Street, great for the account world, great for the consulting world. They would love California,” said Street.
Street explained that New California could collateralize property though setting and following through with plans to build new property in return for borrowing money.
The New California movement is planning a 5th Constitutional Convention in September 2019. During the convention, members plan to “construct the New California State Constitution and pass critical legislation to create New California State.”