South Florida could soon become the 51st state after officials in the City of South Miami passed a resolution earlier this month to split the Sunshine State in half.
The city commission voted 3-2 on Oct. 7 in favor of creating a state of South Florida, the Sun-Sentinel reported
. Vice Mayor Walter Harris initially proposed the measure, saying secession is the only way to get the South Florida’s sea-level rising problem addressed.
"We have to be able to deal directly with this environmental concern and we can't really get it done in Tallahassee," Harris told the Sun-Sentinel. "I don't care what people think – it's not a matter of electing the right people."
Commissioner Gabriel Edmond, who voted against the resolution along with Josh Liebman, said he did not believe the commission had thought through all the consequences of splitting Florida into two states.
"I just want you guys to be careful because if you vote for this you're setting a precedent that if other people in this city don’t like our representation or feel we're not responsive to them they might say 'we want to break away from the city of South Miami,'" Edmond said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard sided with Harris in favor of the resolution.
"It's very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean," Stoddard said. "They've made that abundantly clear every possible opportunity and I would love to give them the opportunity to do that."
WFTS-TV reported that the new state line
would cut through Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Orange, and Brevard counties. While Florida will get the state's largest city, Jacksonville (842,583), the new South Florida will get the next five largest cities, Miami (417,650), Tampa (352,957), Orlando (255,483), St. Petersburg (249,688), and Hialeah (233,394).
Any effort to create a 51st state would have to be approved by the U.S. Congress. Alaska and Hawaii were the last states added to the union back in 1959.
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