51st State of South Florida: South Miami Passes Another Resolution Urging Secession

Split the state?
Split the state?
Photo: Sue Clark's Flickr | CC2.0

This past October, the city commission of South Miami, which for better or worse hardly ever makes local headlines, made national headlines by passing a resolution calling for Florida to be split into two separate states. The idea didn't go anywhere but viral online, but the commission decided to try again at its latest meeting and passed another state-splitting resolution 3-2. 

Championed by Vice Mayor Walter Harris, the resolution claims that North Florida is holding South Florida back from properly dealing with climate change and sea-level rise on a state level. Indeed, the new push comes after reports that Gov. Rick Scott had banned the Department of Environmental Protection from using the phrases "global warming" and "climate change." 

The new state would be mostly contiguous with the South Florida Water Management District. Brevard, Orange, Polk, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties would be the northernmost counties, and 24 counties total would be included. Together they represent 39 percent of the total land of Florida and 67 percent of the total population. 

"North Florida is approximately 120 feet above sea level while the average elevation of South Florida is less than 50 feet with a very large portion of South Florida averaging less than 15 feet above sea level. Many sections of South Florida are 5 feet or less above sea level, including Monroe County and the Gold Coast, consisting of Palm Beach County, Broward County and Miami- Dade County," reads the resolution. 

"Often South Florida issues do not receive the support of Tallahassee. This is despite the fact that South Florida generates more than 69% of the state’s revenue and contains 67% of the state’s population," it continues. "The creation of the 51st state, South Florida, is a necessity for the very survival of the entire southern region of the current state of Florida and this cannot be accomplished by one municipality alone." 

The resolution calls for the Miami-Dade County League of Cities to form a committee to investigate the idea of creating a new state. So instead of trying to get this idea off the ground alone, South Miami is now trying to cull together the entirety of the most populated county in the state/

“They are ignoring South Florida. They are ignoring its environmental problems. The flow of money is still inequitable. We ship a lot of money north that doesn’t come south again," mayor Phillip Stoddard told the Miami Herald. “In my mind (the resolution) is calling really for recognition of the issues down here.”

Indeed, the resolution is more about bringing attention to both the importance of South Florida to the state and its general needs and the threats of sea-level rise than it is about actually creating a new state. 

Of course, we like our idea of just splitting Florida into 10 different states


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