NewsCalifornia State Senate Passes Three Reparations Bills

California State Senate Passes Three Reparations Bills

The bills are aimed at creating sources of funding for reparations for Black Californians.

Three bills aimed at creating sources of funding for the compensation of Black Californians passed the state’s Senate after years of groundwork. The bills, which were authored by Democratic State Sen. Steven Bradford, will create a fund for reparations, provide compensation for land taken by eminent domain for racially biased reasons, and the creation of the California American Freedmen Affairs Agency.

According to USA Today, Rep. Bradford believes that the state “bears great responsibility” in addressing the injustices it perpetrated against Black people through enslavement, segregation, discrimination, and stigmatizing Black Californians. 

The fund will also establish support for future projects designed to compensate Black people or descendants of an enslaved person who lived in California during the 19th Century. A previous version of the bill stipulated that the bill was to be funded from 6% of the state budget reserve, but that has since been eliminated, which leaves the source of the bill’s funding unclear. 

The same bill establishing the Freedmen Affairs Agency also would create a Genealogy Office and an Office of Legal Affairs, while the bill that establishes compensation for eminent domain also gives the Office of Legal Affairs the authority to review, investigate, and determine the status of applications for the compensation of land taken by the practice of eminent domain.

As Jones-Sawyer told the Assembly ahead of the vote, “We were people’s properties in this state. And it was defended by the State Supreme Court and other courts.”

Newsom, California’s Democratic Governor, has signaled his support for aims that do not involve cash payments, but he has also been cutting funding from various areas, including education to reduce California’s ballooning budget.

Ahead of the session, Bradford was critical of some of the bills advanced by the Caucus, praising them as a great start before telling the California Divide, “…there’s much more heavy lifting that will be needed to be done in the years to come.”

Jones-Sawyer also told the outlet that he believes the bills are necessary. “All of the bills are important,” Jones-Sawyer said. “Taken in totality; it’s not just inching this or inching that. All of these bills have a significant impact on moving forward with closing the wealth gap.” 

RELATED CONTENT: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Promises To Pay Black Farmers $5B In Reparations, Despite Unconstitutional Ruling

Source: Black Enterprise

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