Prop 9: Three States Initiative


Casey Chang

The Supreme Court ruled Proposition 9 unconstitutional.

Isabella Guerrero, Staff Writer

In 2018, another state splitting initiative, Proposition 9 or the “Three States Initiative” or “Cal3 Initiative,” proposed dividing the state of California into three separate states: California, Northern California and Southern California. However, the proposal never made it to the November ballot because the California Supreme court unanimously ruled the proposition was unconstitutional.

Under Section 3 of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, a state is required to get consent from the California State Legislature and federal (U.S. Congress) approval to divide the state. If passed, the proponents of Proposition 9 believed it would meet the consent of California’s legislature and thus the state would then move to get consent from the federal government.

Splitting California into smaller states is not a new concept. Over the last 150-plus years, there have been many unsuccessful proposals.

In 1859, legislation to split California into two states at the 36th parallel was passed by both the Senate and House and signed by the governor. However, the Civil War began in 1860 and California’s request wasn’t addressed by the federal government.

Tim Draper, a venture-capitalist, developed 2018’s Proposition 9.

“The closer you get to government, the better it’s going to be. When you have all the powers delegated to someone very distant, it creates a problem,” said Tim Draper.

Though Californians never officially voted on Proposition 9, a June 2018 survey of around 950 Californians estimated that around 75% of Californians opposed the changes, 13% supported them, and 12% were undecided.

Due to the U.S. Constitution and the agreement of the majority, California remains one state today.