On Wednesday, the Arizona House of Representatives advanced a bill that would split Maricopa County into four smaller pieces.
Under House Bill 2787, introduced by nine GOP state lawmakers, proposes that Maricopa County be split up into four smaller counties, with Maricopa County occupying most of Avondale, Glendale, Phoenix, and Tempe.
The House Government and Elections Committee approved the measures in a 7-6 party-line vote with Republicans in favor on Feb. 16.
Under the bill, the other three counties would be named Hohokam County, Mogollon County and O’Odham County.
Hohokam County would include the East Valley, including Chandler and Mesa.
Mogollon County would include Scottsdale, north Phoenix, and Peoria.
O’Odham County would include the western parts of Maricopa County, as it is currently constituted.
Rep. Jake Hoffman, the Queen Creek Republican who sponsored the bill said that with 65% of the Arizona’s population, Maricopa County is becoming too big to be efficiently managed. Maricopa County has nearly 4.5 million people and is the fourth largest in the nation after Los Angeles County, Cook County, Illinois and Harris County, Texas.
The last time Arizona created a new county was in the 1980s, when La Paz split from Yuma, which many feel left the new county without a sufficient tax base to cover its expenses.
Democrats are concerned that the proposed legislation is motivated by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors’ refusal to go along with former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
The bill details that after a period of transition, each new county would have its own county functions including a court system, elections department and public health agency along with its own elected officials including a board of supervisors, county attorney, sheriff and recorder. Maricopa County’s existing debts and assets would be divided proportionally.
Some officials feel that this proposal would provide for a better local government and allow the four smaller counties to focus more on regional needs.
It is not certain if House Bill 2787 has enough support to pass the full House and Senate.