Idaho House votes to explore annexing counties from Oregon

The Greater Idaho Bill

House Joint Memorial 1, also known as the Greater Idaho Bill, passed the Idaho House of Representatives by 41 to 28.

This resolution states, “the Idaho Legislature stands ready to begin discussions with the Oregon Legislature regarding the potential to relocate the Oregon/Idaho state boundary.”

There is a second House Joint Memorial 2 that would further solidify support for the movement.

Eleven counties in Oregon have already voted in favor of beginning negotiations to leave Oregon and join Idaho instead. Movements are underway in several others. There is also an effort to split Wasco County.

There is support for this in eastern Washington as well.

For a county to move to a different state, it must be approved by Congress.

The movement to carve a new US state along the California/Oregon border has also been re-invigorated since the 2016 US presidential election. This movement dates back to at least the 1940s. However, it is currently most active on the California side of the border. There are also efforts to split California into multiple states. In 2018, 600k signatures were collected for a ballot initiation to divide California into six different states. The California Supreme Court blocked the initiative from ever appearing on the ballot.

Creating a brand new state would be far more controversial because it could change the Rep/Dem balance of the US Senate. The greater Idaho movement would not affect the balance of the Senate. 

Historically, some people have also supported the idea that parts of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia should become an independent nation called Cascadia. In 2020, the Canadian polling firm Glacier Media and Research Co. claimed that support for this idea had surged among young people. They claimed 66% of those aged 18-34 had a positive view of the idea of an independent nation of Cascadia.

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