Lawmakers want Illinois & Chicago to be different states

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - If some lawmakers get their way the U.S. flag would have an extra star for the 51st state of Chicago.

New legislation sponsored by Illinois State Representatives Bill Mitchell and Adam Brown aims to split Illinois into two states: Cook County and everywhere else.

Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro signed up as a third sponsor to the bill Wednesday.

"In the coffee shops, beauty shops, barber shops, one statement you get more than anything is why don't we separate from them?," said Rep. Bost.

"I do wish they could separate because it seems like all the votes they get they pretty much run the whole state," said Cainen Freed of Danville.

"I feel the problem is with governors," said Madeleine Hall of Champaign. "They focus on Chicago and nowhere else in the state."

"It doesn't matter if you're in Galena or Carbondale, it's the same," said Rep. Bost. "People get frustrated with the operation of Cook County and the politicians that come out of it."

Which is exactly why the bill's sponsoring lawmakers say: if you can't beat 'em, kick 'em out.

"Downstate legislators have talked about this for a long time," said Bost. "Tongue and cheek."

Now that it's on paper, even some residents from other states think Illinois might be onto something.

"When big cities are on one side of the state and rural on the other, big cities make all the laws, the southern parts have to abide by them and it's not really practical for them," said Noal Cowell of Grassy, Missouri.

The problem? No state has split in two since the Civil War. Even one of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Bost, admits it probably won't happen now with a sitting president who once called Chicago home.

"Probably with this particular president it's be very hard to get the president to sign it," said Bost. "If we we're even able to get Speaker Madigan to call it, not to mention Cullerton wouldn't want to call it either."

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