SACRAMENTO, California — California state lawmakers introduced a slate of reparations bills on Wednesday, including a proposal to restore property taken by “race-based” cases of eminent domain and a potentially unconstitutional measure to provide state funding for “specific groups.”
The package marks a first-in-the-nation effort to give restitution to Black Americans who have been harmed by centuries of racist policies and practices. California’s legislative push is the culmination of years of research and debate, including 111-pages of recommendations issued last year by a task force.
Other states like Colorado, New York, and Massachusetts have commissioned reparations studies or task forces, but California is the first to attempt to turn those ideas into law.
The 14 measures introduced by the Legislative Black Caucus touch on education, civil rights and criminal justice, including reviving a years-old effort to restrict solitary confinement that failed to make it out of the statehouse as recently as last year.
Not included is any type of financial compensation to descendants of Black slaves, a polarizing proposal that has received a cool response from many state Democrats, including Gov. Gavin Newsom.