PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Idaho’s House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that would move the Oregon and Idaho border westward to create a “Greater Idaho” with more legislative power.
Passage of the bill, numbered HJM 1, authorizes Idaho legislators to present a proposal to Oregon politicians about relocating the border to the Cascade Mountain range.
During the Idaho House’s debate, proponents of the bill said applying Idaho law to eastern Oregon would help push Oregon’s drug laws farther away from Idaho’s residents.
In 2020, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize hard drugs that are otherwise illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. According to the Greater Idaho movement’s website, relocating the Oregon-Idaho border would “reduce the ease of access and convenience of these dangerous products to those who might be tempted by them.”
Sen. Dennis Linthicum, a republican serving Klamath Falls, introduced a similar bill to the floor of Oregon legislators on Jan. 10.
The bill notes that 15 rural conservative counties in eastern Oregon have proposed to become a part of Idaho, and 11 have already approved ballot measures in support of the change.
Matt McCaw, a Greater Idaho Movement spokesperson, said eastern Oregon would also benefit from the border change.
“Eastern Oregon is culturally, politically, economically much more similar to Idaho than it is to western Oregon,” McGaw said. “Our movement is about self-determination and matching people to government that they want and that matches their values. In Oregon, we’ve had this urban-rural divide for a very long time.”
Oregon’s SJM 2 bill now requires the approval of Rob Wagner, the new President of the Senate, who has told KOIN 6 he does not believe the bill will move forward in the 2023 legislative session.