California Introduces Historic Slavery Reparations Package

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California is introducing a first-of-its-kind reparations package.

On Wednesday (January 31), the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) announced the "2024 Reparations Priority Bill Package," which includes 14 measures that address the findings of the state's Reparations Task Force, per The Hill.

The reparations package marks a first for the nation. California will become the first state to implement legislation proposals to enact reparations.

“While many only associate direct cash payments with reparations the true meaning of the word, to repair, involves much more! As laid out in the report, we need a comprehensive approach to dismantling the legacy of slavery and systemic racism,” CLBC Chair Lori Wilson said in a statement. “This year’s legislative package tackles a wide range of issues; from criminal justice reforms to property rights to education, civil rights and food justice. The Caucus is looking to make strides in the second half of this legislative session as we build towards righting the wrongs of California’s past in future sessions."

The 14 measures fall under primary topics of Education, Civil Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, Health, and Business.

The measures include an amendment to the California Constitution to “allow the State to fund programs for the purpose of increasing the life expectancy of, improving educational outcomes for, or lifting out of poverty specific groups.” Another measure would “prohibit involuntary servitude for incarcerated persons.”

The reparations package also addresses “property takings,” allowing for the restoration of “property taken during race-based uses of eminent domain to its original owners or provide another effective remedy where appropriate, such as restitution or compensation.”

The first step of the package will be “a resolution that recognizes that harm and a subsequent bill that requests a formal apology by the Governor and the Legislature for the role that the State played in the human rights violation and crimes against humanity on African Slaves and their descendants.”

The California secretary of state applauded the reparations package.

“I am optimistic and encouraged by the work, and look forward to amazing and ground breaking outcomes. The nation is waiting for us to lead. And as California always does, we will lead in addressing a delayed justice called Reparations.”

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