California lawmakers introduced 14 bills related to slavery reparations on Wednesday, marking the first time that a state had taken the practical step of trying to turn reparations proposals into law.
Missing from the bills was any mention of cash payments for descendants of slaves. When the issue was taken up by the reparations commission, it proved to be so controversial that lawmakers decided to treat cash reparations as a separate issue.
“While many only associate direct cash payments with reparations, the true meaning of the word, to repair, involves much more,” Assemblymember Lori Wilson, chair of the caucus, said in a statement. “We need a comprehensive approach to dismantling the legacy of slavery and systemic racism.”
The 14 bills introduced 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,” according to Politico.
The bills are short on specifics, leaving the implementation of the new laws to the fertile imaginations of bureaucrats.
The package does have a provision that would give some monetary relief. The proposed bill, authored by State Sen. Steven Bradford, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area, deals with “property takings.” It would, “Restore property taken during raced-based uses of eminent domain to its original owners or provide another effective remedy where appropriate, such as restitution or compensation.”
Black lawmakers are already anticipating an uphill battle. They anticipate spending many hours to educate fellow legislators and convince them to pass the bills.
How can it be said the property was taken during “race-based rules of eminent domain”? Remember, the “evidence” for this is found in “outcomes.” There’s no proof needed except being able to show that a policy had a “disparate impact” on black people.
There may be several reasons why the outcome of a policy is unequal that would be totally unrelated to racism or white supremacy.
It all comes back to the nauseating idea of “collective guilt.” Because some white people did bad things to black people, all white people must suffer the consequences. It is, dare I say, unAmerican for the sins of the father to be visited on the sons. It was one of the founding principles of the republic, and they are abandoning it now in service to an attempted massive transfer of wealth.
One of the numerous problems with getting most of these bills passed is that there’s a question of them passing constitutional muster.
Democratic Assemblymember Corey Jackson, who represents a district north of San Diego, is proposing asking voters to change California’s Constitution to allow the state to fund programs aimed at “increasing the life expectancy of, improving educational outcomes for, or lifting out of poverty specific groups based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, or marginalized genders, sexes, or sexual orientations.”
That plan could face a similar constitutional challenge like the one that ultimately dismantled affirmative action.
Other proposals include protections for “natural and protective” hairstyles in all competitive sports, and a formal apology by the governor and Legislature for the state’s role in human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants.
I’m not sure how a bill to protect “natural” hairstyles fits into a reparations bill, but I’m sure there’s a good reason for it.
And the idea of carving out funds to benefit specific races or “marginalized genders, sexes, or sexual orientation” is so far out of constitutional bounds that it’s not even in sight.
It should be interesting to watch the progress of these bills as they make their way to Governor Newsom’s desk.