2 California counties ask to form separate state

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Representatives of two counties in far Northern California are petitioning state lawmakers for the right to form a 51st state called Jefferson.

Modoc and Siskiyou counties have a combined population of about 53,000. They submitted petitions from their county governments to the secretaries of the state Assembly and Senate on Thursday.

They also filed a petition with the secretary of state complaining about a lack of representation.

Supporters rallied outside the Capitol in green shirts with the movement's logo: two X's and a coiled snake. Their petitions say "California is too large to govern" and should be split into two or more states.

They say the U.S. Constitution allows a region to petition the government for secession. If lawmakers ignore the petition, Jefferson proponents say it will give them standing to sue.

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