At 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Terry McBride stood in front of the county courthouse in San Andreas with several sheets of paper in hand.
“The people of California are suffering from a tyrannical state government, which fails to provide a republican form of governance, enables and supports across its southern border the invasion of the United State of America by illegal foreign nationals, and protects vicious criminals who commit outrageous acts of violence upon the citizens of America, all caused by a government of and for a mono-party system led by a tyrannical dictator who openly defies federal law,” she said. “The self-proclaimed usurping dictator of the failed state of California is guilty of imposing a communistic form of martial law utilizing unelected bureaucrats as quasi-legal regional Soviet-style authority for the unconstitutional imposition of mandated lockdowns and wearing of masks.”
McBride is the chair of the Calaveras County committee and the county senator for the New California State movement, which seeks to create a 51st state made up mostly of the rural regions of California and containing about half of the state’s population. Members of the movement have been publicly reading grievances at courthouses across California.
The New California State movement began in 2015 and declared independence from the state of California in 2018. Over the past several years, New Californians have been busy setting up county committees, holding regular constitutional conventions and establishing the structure for a new government. So far, committees have been formed in 56 counties.
“The tyrannical government of California is blatantly violating our U.S. Constitution, stomping on our basic rights of freedom, and deliberately ignoring the will of the people,” a pamphlet from the group’s February constitutional convention reads. “New California will restore a constitutional state government controlled by you, the citizens of the United States, living in rural California.”
Proponents of the movement argue that residents living in rural areas of California lack adequate political representation and that the state as a whole has become ungovernable.
“After years of over-taxation, regulation, and mono-party politics, the state of California and many of its 58 counties have become ungovernable,” the pamphlet reads. “The nature of the state becoming ungovernable has caused a decline in essential basic services.”
While representation in the California State Legislature is based on population – effectively giving urban areas more political power than rural areas – the legislature of the new state would consist of one senator and two assembly members from each county. Although the California legislature meets full time, the new legislature would only meet part time.
Important issues for New Californians include support for the 2nd Amendment, voter ID laws, the right to work, upholding property rights, creating the least restrictive business environment and removing government agencies deemed unconstitutional.
New Californians draw inspiration from the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution states, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.” New Californians argue that the state has failed to uphold these constitutional guarantees, among others.
While other recent movements have attempted to divide the state through lawsuits or ballot measures, the New California State movement seeks to reach its goals by following a constitutional process last used during the Civil War when West Virginia broke away from Virginia.
Article 4, Section 3 of the Constitution states, “New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as Congress.”
This means that the creation of New California would require approval from the California State Legislature, as well as the U.S. Congress. After the movement gains approval, elections are planned to be held to staff the new government.
Paul Preston is the founder and president of the New California State movement. He is also the host of the Agenda 21 Radio show at the American Exceptionalism News Network, which is based out of Sacramento.
In an interview posted to the New California State website, Preston said that he is confident that the movement will win approval from the state legislature.
“We understand the position that (the legislature is) going to be in, because there won’t be the money that they thought there was going to be,” he said. “We’re here basically not to just help ourselves out, and improve our lot as New Californians in the rural areas. … We’re here to help them, too. So, we want to make it a win-win situation at the state separation.”
McBride said she got involved with the movement because she wanted to see a positive change in the state government.
“I was becoming more and more uncomfortable with what was happening with our state of California and the way that it’s being governed – the lack of accountability of the officials and the removal of our rights, little by little,” she said. “And then the high costs of living here – when there’s really nothing to show for it – the taxation, the over-regulation, fees on everything. You need a permit for practically everything. I’m tired of it.”
Overregulation has led to the inflated costs of housing in the state, McBride said.
“I’m part of the Butte Fire, and hopefully once this PG&E thing settles, I’ll be able to build a new house,” she said. “What’s it going to cost? The costs of building homes in California are so high that the average person simply cannot afford it.”
McBride said that the state’s response to COVID-19 has strengthened her support for the movement.
“What COVID-19 really did was exposed (Newsom) and the way that this state is being governed,” she said. “We are being treated as though we live in a communistic country. And I do not. I live in America.”
The structure of the new legislature would make it much more responsive to local communities, McBride said.
“You will see (representatives) locally, and they are answerable to you locally, like our supervisors are,” she said. “That’s really important, because you as that representative know that you’re going to have to face those people that your choices have an effect on. Each county having their own senator and each county having two assembly – I think that is so powerful.”
McBride said that the New California State will be what the state of California used to be.
“Because we’re limiting regulations significantly, and all the rules and all the fees and all the costs of being in business, we are going to be what California used to be,” she said. “California used to be an economic engine that ran smoothly. People loved living here, they made good money, the costs were fair, and that is what New California State will be. We will be able to help with the costs that old California is really being drowned with – by their own choices.”
The New California State movement has been holding local town hall meetings and committee meetings, all of which are open to the public. The next town hall meeting will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the San Andreas Town Hall, and Preston will be speaking and answering questions. Preston has also been hosting statewide town hall-style teleconference meetings on Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit ncs51.com, or contact McBride at 728-7592.