by WorldTribune Staff, February 28, 2023
Legislation which would move the Oregon-Idaho border to include several counties in eastern Oregon has passed the Idaho House of Representatives.
The “Greater Idaho” bill authorizes Idaho legislators to begin talks with Oregon about relocating the state line.
The legislation would see about 13 Oregon counties making up 63% of the Beaver State’s landmass and 9% of its population move within Idaho’s borders.
Eleven of the eastern Oregon counties have already voted in favor of joining Idaho.
Such a large-scale change to state borders hasn’t occurred since the Civil War. Moving the borders would require the Idaho Legislature, the Oregon Legislature and Congress to all sign off in favor of the change.
Mike McCarter, the leader of The Greater Idaho Movement, said his endeavor would give eastern Oregon voters an actual voice in state affairs should the counties officially join Idaho. Unlike the urban liberal areas which dominate Oregon politics, Idaho is a rural, conservative state with traditional values.
Former Oregon House Speaker Mark Simmons, in an op-ed the Idaho Statesman, said he supports the Greater Idaho movement: “Idaho would have the satisfaction of freeing rural, conservative communities from progressive blue-state law. We are dismayed by the manner in which Oregon government has marginalized our values and villainized our resource-based livelihoods. This is why our counties voted 75% Republican last year (Idaho voted 67% Republican).”
Simmons described how Oregon stores are selling drugs near Idaho communities and hurting the quality of life in the area, explaining that moving the state line would force drug shops away from most of Idaho’s population and help eastern Oregonians.
During debate on the floor of the House, proponents also cited an economic analysis from the Claremont institute that shows that rural Oregon counties would be a net benefit to Idaho financially.
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