SPRINGFIELD - Three downstate lawmakers want the US Congress to take up an initiative to make Chicago the 51st state. After all, the state and city have been fighting for 200 years.
In a resolution introduced May 25, GOP State Reps. Reginald Phillips - Brad Halbrook and Joe Sosnowski voiced their dismay with the city's politics, its weight to the state's finances and its disagreement with the rest of the state on major social issues.
The dissension between the state's most populated city and the rest of the state has been an issue for 200 years, the resolution says, with previous attempts to sever the state and city's ties.
HR 1138 reads:
WHEREAS, The State of Illinois is often regarded as having two distinct regions, the City of Chicago and downstate Illinois; and
WHEREAS, Even communities north of Chicago are considered "downstate" because they have more in common with rural southern and central Illinois counties than they do with the City of Chicago; and
WHEREAS, The divide between the City of Chicago and downstate Illinois is frequently manifested in electoral results such as the 2010 gubernatorial election in which the Democrat candidate won the election despite only carrying four counties out of 102 counties, and in fact, did not need to carry any other counties to win because of the margin of victory in Chicago and Cook County; and
WHEREAS, The City of Chicago is frequently treated as a separate region of the State and has often been exempted from major legislative initiatives the General Assembly enacts in law because of this fact;
WHEREAS, The City of Chicago is often bailed out by taxpayers in the rest of the State such as the $221 million bailout for the CPS pension system that was signed into law WHEREAS, Numerous counties in the southern and central parts of Illinois are approving resolutions to become sanctuary counties for gun owners, while the City of Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country; and
WHEREAS, The majority of residents in downstate Illinois disagree with City of Chicago residents on key issues such as gun ownership, abortion, immigration, and other policy issues;
WHEREAS, The dissension between downstate Illinois and the City of Chicago spans the nearly 200-year history of the State, and there have been several attempts in the past to divide Illinois into two states; and
WHEREAS, The City of Chicago passed a resolution in 1925 to form the State of Chicago; and
WHEREAS, Western Illinoisans declared their region as the "Republic of Forgottonia"; and
WHEREAS, In 1981, State Senator Howard Carroll passed a Cook County succession bill through both chambers of the State Legislature; and
WHEREAS, There continue to be organizations pushing for separation between the City of Chicago and downstate Illinois such as the "Southern Illinois Secession Movement"; and
WHEREAS, Separation of states continues to be a focus in the news media as there is a movement in California to divide that state into multiple states; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDREDTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we urge the United States Congress to take action to declare the City of Chicago the 51st state of the United States of America and separate it from the rest of Illinois; and be it further
RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be delivered to all Illinois constitutional officers, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives, and the President and Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate.
The resolution was left in the House Rules Committee at the end of the session on May 31st, 2018.