Stop the County Secession Bill!

HB 93, County Formation Amendments, is a bill sponsored by Rep. Kim Coleman that would make it easier for part of a county to secede. This bill would remove a requirement for a majority vote in both the breakaway part of a county AND the remaining part of a county in order to create a new county. Coleman’s bill would only require a majority vote in the breakaway part of a county, leaving those in the left-behind portion without any say in the matter.

Areas that would likely want to split away from their current counties include the southwest portion of Salt Lake County, which is relatively more conservative and affluent than its surrounding cities, and the northern half of San Juan County, which is largely white and conservative, unlike the bottom part of San Juan County which contains part of the Navajo Nation reservation.

 


 

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Sponsored by: Alliance for a Better Utah

TALKING POINTS

- Self-determination is not just for the rich and affluent. This bill would change the law to allow only members of the would-be new county to have a voice in its creation, leaving the remainder of the existing county out of the process. New county boundaries could be easily be drawn along lines of race, class, economic status.

- The Association of Counties has come out in opposition against the bill because it proposes drastic changes that have a real danger of leaving citizens of existing counties behind. If new county boundaries are drawn along lines of class and economic status, tax bases in existing counties have the potential to be severely impoverished, significantly impacting the finances of the local government and overall quality of life in the county. (For example, over 25 percent of residents in San Juan County are already living in poverty.)

- Counties containing a diversity of cultures, customs, and backgrounds is a positive thing, not a negative thing.

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