It was perhaps overshadowed during this week's Franklin County Commissioner's meeting in Pasco.

Much of the attention was focused on the 2-1 vote to set aside $1.3 million of the COVID CARES Act money to cover rising costs for the Benton Franklin Health District.  But prior to that discussion the three Commissioners heard from Dani Bulyard, who represents this area in the Liberty 51st. State movement.

The website Liberty State was created some time ago, and is the home of the growing movement to have Eastern WA break away from the west side and be declared the 51st. State in the Union.  The map on the site shows a border that roughly follows the Cascade Mountains from Canada to Oregon. A number of surveys over the last two years conducted by Spokane and Tri-City media online have shown significant support for the idea, including some 21,000 favorable responses.

Bulyard requested that Franklin County allow an "advisory" non binding vote be put on the ballot this fall. An advisory vote simply shows how many people in a county or region would be in favor of a policy, law or mandate. In this case, if people are in favor of breaking away from the West side.

Commissioner Brad Peck said as long as the group is willing to pay for it, he is in favor, as was Commissioner Clint Didier. The group is hoping the county will include the vote as part of the existing ballot for Nov. That way, it is not considered a "separate" special election and wouldn't add additional costs.

It is not yet known if the group will pay or if it will be included as part of the regular ballot.  The Liberty state movement actually dates as far back as 2012 when former House Rep Matt Shea of Spokane tried to introduce such legislation in the state House. Growing frustration over King-Pierce and Snohomish Counties 'over-riding' the rest of the state politically has led to this movement gaining steam; as well as a series of controversial policies being passed by state government and more.

If both state houses and Congress approve of this idea by a majority vote, then the 51st. state would be created.

To find out more about this movement, click on the button below.


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