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Illinois Republican wants to make Chicago area the 51st state

Chris Moody, Yahoo News
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Chicago (AP)

A state Republican legislator has introduced a bill to the Illinois General Assembly to separate the Chicago's county from the state--effectively making the midwestern city the 51st state in the union.

The bill, filed by State Rep. Bill Mitchell of Decatur Tuesday, would "enact legislation dividing Illinois and Cook County into separate states" because county residents "hold different and firmly seated views" on "politics, society, and economics" from people in the rest of the state. The bill's supporters point to higher tax rates and strict gun laws in the Chicago area and contend that the northern county is out of step with its Illinois neighbors.

"These liberal policies are an insult to the traditional values of downstate families," Mitchell told the Decatur Tribune. "When I talk to constituents, one of the biggest things I hear is 'Chicago should be its own state . . . .Our voters' voices were drowned out by Chicago."

The measure would put the issue up to a vote by state residents through a referendum and then would require approval from the United States Congress and the president. As of this writing, the bill has just one other co-sponsor.

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