Another Washington legislative session, another bill introduced to break the state down the Cascades to form Liberty, a 51st state made up of eastern Washington, only.

Washington state Representatives Bob McCaslin and Rob Chase, from the Spokane area, District 4, Positions 1 and 2 respectively, are proposing House Bill 1239 that would establish the state of "Liberty." This idea has been bandied about back and forth since 2019, but never has it been given serious consideration.

House Bill 1239 would create Liberty with the borders of the would-be 51st state following the crest of the Cascade mountains and the western borders of Okanogan, Chelan, Kittitas, Yakima, and Klickitat counties. The eastern, northern, and southern borders of Liberty are the existing state borders.

In addition to establishing new state lines, the bill proposes creating 15 transition committees that would establish governmental functions within Liberty. Those include education, executive functions, legislative functions, judicial functions and courts, debt, statewide elections, health care and more.

Each transition committee shall be responsible for developing and adopting a master plan for its respective policy area to establish the government of the state of Liberty.

Each transition committee is comprised of four state legislators and one expert, consultant, or other support staff, including an attorney not employed by the attorney general. Of the four legislators on each transition committee, two are nominated by the majority and two are nominated by the minority.

There must be at least one member representing a district that predominately lies west of the crest of the Cascade mountains, and the other must represent a district that predominately lies east of the crest of the Cascade mountains. Those are the rules for the nominees from both the majority and minority parties. The expert, consultant, or other support staff on each transition committee is chosen by a majority vote of the four legislators on the transition committee. The membership of each transition committee must be finalized within 30 days after this section takes effect.

The governor shall call the first meeting of the transition committees, to be held within 45 days after the committee membership is finalized. Each transition committee must develop its master plan within two years of the effective date.

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