West Kansas Article

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The High Plains of western Kansas

West Kansas was a proposed state of the United States, advocated by a short-lived secessionist movement in the 1990s.

Background

In May 1992, Kansas Governor Joan Finney signed into law a new school finance formula that adversely affected several south-western Kansas counties. [1] These laws raised taxes and shifted state education funding away from rural school districts and into more urban areas. In reaction to this, a group headed by Don O. Concannon advocated the secession of a number of counties from the state.

Proposals

The group organized a series of straw polls that demonstrated widespread support for secession in nine counties from south-western Kansas: [2] Grant, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kiowa, Meade, Morton, Stanton, and Stevens. [1]

On September 11, 1992, a constitutional convention was convened in Ulysses, Kansas, at which it was decided to call the new state "West Kansas". [3] A state bird (the pheasant), and a state flower (the yucca) were also chosen. [2]

Result

The West Kansas secession movement ended rather quickly, and a formal petition for secession was never presented to the Kansas legislature. [1] Seventeen affected school districts filed lawsuits, but at the end of 1994, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 1992 act. [3]

Peter J. McCormick noted in 1995 that "the real differences between the southwest and the rest of Kansas remain, however, as do issues of school control and unfair taxation." [1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d McCormick, Peter J. (Fall 1995). "The 1992 Secessionist Movement in Southwest Kansas". Great Plains Quarterly. 15 (4): 247–258. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b Overby, Peter (December 1992). "We're outta here!". Common Cause Magazine. 18 (4): 23.
  3. ^ a b Kauffman, Bill (March 1995). "Smaller Is Beautifuller". The American Enterprise. p. 37. Archived from the original on February 14, 2007.