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Billionaire’s plan to split California into six states appears headed to the ballot

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A long-shot effort to break California into six separate states got a boost on Monday, when the billionaire venture capitalist behind the proposal said he had gathered enough signatures to place it on the ballot in two years.

Timothy Draper, a founder of a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has invested in Twitter, Skype, and Tesla, among other companies, has been agitating for months for a ballot initiative to chop the most populous U.S. state into smaller entities.

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“It’s important because it will help us create a more responsive, more innovative and more local government, and that ultimately will end up being better for all of Californians,” said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the campaign. “The idea … is to create six states with responsive local governments – states that are more representative and accountable to their constituents.”

Salazar said Monday that the campaign had gathered more than the roughly 808,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the November, 2016 ballot. Draper and other supporters plan to file the signatures with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on Tuesday.

But the plan has raised bipartisan hackles across the state, and opponents say it stands little chance of gaining voter approval. If it does win the support of voters, it must still be passed by Congress, which opponents say is also unlikely.

“This is a colossal and divisive waste of time, energy, and money that will hurt the California brand,” said Steven Maviglio, a Democratic political strategist who has formed the group OneCalifornia with GOP strategist Joe Rodota to fight Draper’s plan. “It has zero chance of passage. But what it does is scare investment away … at a time when the Governor is leading us to an economic comeback.”

Draper’s plan would split the world’s eighth-largest economy along geographic lines.

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One state, to be called Silicon Valley, would include the tech hub along with the San Francisco Bay Area. Jefferson, named after the third U.S. president, would encompass the northernmost region. The state capital of Sacramento would be in North California, while South California would be made up of San Diego and the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles.

L.A. itself would be part of a state called West California.

Proponents say the division would help create a more business-friendly environment, solve the state’s water issues, and ease traffic congestion.

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Wisconsin GOP slammed for making people choose between their health and their vote

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After Republicans nationally and in Wisconsin successfully sued in both state and federal court to block voters from being given extra time and options to cast votes in the middle of a pandemic, commenters on social media reacted with fury.

What just happened re: Wisconsin can seem a bit confusing. The TL;DR: The Supreme Court decided that Republicans winning elections is more important than keeping voters healthy & alive.

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ESPN reports the NBA is looking to rapid COVID-19 tests to resume professional basketball

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The NBA and the union representing players are working together on a possible solution to re-open professional basketball in America, ESPN reported Monday.

"In recent weeks, officials within the NBA and NBPA have been collaborating in assessing the viability of multiple blood-testing devices for the novel coronavirus that could provide accurate results within a matter of minutes, a process that would hopefully enable the league to track the virus in what's considered a critical first step toward resuming play in the near future," ESPN senior writer Baxter Holmes reported.

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Watch how the BBC reports on ‘the reality’ in the United States during COVID-19 crisis

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is reporting on the "frantic and on-the-edge" situation in an intensive care unit in New York City.

The BBC had footage from CBS News, which was allowed in the ICU.

"Though the administration says there's no shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the reality is otherwise," the BBC noted.

A front-line worker wearing a garbage bag "wished" she had the same PPE as the reporter.

"It's very, very difficult, it's like something out of 'The Twilight Zone,'" she said.

"And I don't think any of us going through it will ever be the same," she added.

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