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The California Legislative Black Caucus introduces first-of-its kind in the nation reparations package

Although the California Reparations Task Force was not able to pass its cash-payment recommendations through Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Legislative Black Caucus has a plan of action through a set of bills


By ONME Newswire

California Reparations Task Force

When the nine-member California Reparations Task Force suggested cash compensation up to $1.2 million per Black resident in the final report they presented, Govenor Gavin Newsom felt he could not support these recommendation based on California's budget which was already in a deficit.


However, the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) announced this week the planned introduction of the 2024 Reparations Priority Bill Package which includes a set of 14 bills to address issues for African-Americans in education, civil rights justice, criminal justice reform, health and business. This will be the first steps to a multi-year effort to implement the legislative recommendations in the report without suggesting direct cash payments to the victims.


“While many only associate direct cash payments with reparations, the true meaning of the word, 'to repair,' involves much more,"  said Assemblywoman Lori D. Wilson, Chair of the CLBC. "As laid out in the report, we need a comprehensive approach to dismantling the legacy of slavery and systemic racism. 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.”


"One of the most powerful aspects of the Reparations Tasks Force Report was the detailed discussion of how laws in California were crafted to directly cause harm to its Black residents. That harm touched every aspect of their lives and many of those harms are still felt by Black Californians generations later. This is why the Caucus’ first step will be to introduce 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.”


"As a result of the historic study by the California Reparations Task Force on the negative impacts of Jim Crow-styled laws brought to California, the California Legislative Black Caucus will present its first set of bills based upon the recommendations set forth in the Task Force’s final report."


Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones- Sawyer, Sr. was one of the elected officials who was a part of the CA Reparations Task Force. The two-year study resulted in two reports totaling over 1,600 pages.


We will endeavor to right the wrongs committed against black communities through laws and policies designed to restrict and alienate African Americans. These atrocities are found in education, access to homeownership, and to capital for small business startups, all of which contributed to the denial of generational wealth over hundreds of years.” said Byron Jones- Sawyer, Sr. “These reports contain the most comprehensive empirical data and historical evidence ever collected on the issue of chattel slavery. There is no doubt about the far-reaching negative impacts of bigoted laws born from the end of slavery in our country.


"Hundreds of legislative and budgetary reparatory recommendations were made within the final report and I, along with the members of the Black Caucus, look forward to working with our legislative colleagues to achieve true reparations and justice for all black Californians."


Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley Weber, responded to the CLBC news release.


“As the author of AB 3121, I am pleased that the CLBC has picked up the baton and is moving the state forward in addressing the recommendations delivered to them seven months ago. 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.”


California will lead the nation as the first state to implement a reparations package, although the uphill challenge to support these bills will depend on California's ailing budget woes where cuts are being made instead.


Here are the following 14 measures that have been or will be introduced from the noted authors with the full caucus as coauthors. This will represent the 2024 CLBC Reparation Priority Bill Package.


Education

  • AB 1929 (McKinnor) – Expand access to career technical education by creating a competitive grant program to increase enrollment of descendants in STEM-related CTE programs at the high school and college levels.

  • AB XXX (McCarty) – Career Education Financial Aid for redlined communities


Civil Rights

  • ACA 7 (Jackson) – Amends 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.

  • ACR 135 (Weber) – Formally recognizes and accepts responsibility for all of the harms and atrocities committed by representatives of the state who promoted, facilitated, enforced and permitted the institution of chattel slavery.

  • AB 1815 (Weber) – Prohibit discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles in all competitive sports by extending the CROWN Act to explicitly include competitive sports within California.

  • SB XXX (Bradford) – Property takings: Restore 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.

  • AB XXX (Jones-Sawyer) – Issues a formal apology for human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants.


Criminal Justice Reform

  • ACA 8 (Wilson) – Amend the California Constitution to prohibit involuntary servitude for incarcerated persons.

  • AB 1986 (Bryan) – Eliminate the CDCR practice of banning books without oversight and review.

  • AB XXX (Jones-Sawyer) – Fund community-driven solutions to decrease community violence at the family, school and neighborhood levels in African-American communities by establishing a state-funded grant program.

  • AB XXX (Holden) – Mandela Act: Restricts solitary confinement within CDCR detention facilities.


Health

  • AB 1975 (Bonta) – Make medically supportive food and nutrition interventions, when deemed medically necessary by healthcare providers, a permanent part of Medi-Cal benefits in California.

  • SB XXX (Smallwood-Cuevas) – Address food injustice by requiring advance notification to community stakeholders prior to the closure of a grocery store in underserved or at-risk communities.


Business

  • AB XXX (Gipson) – Eliminate barriers to licensure for people with criminal records. Expansion of AB 2138 to prioritize African American applicants seeking occupational licenses, especially those who are descendants.


A Press Conference with full details of each proposal will occur after February’s bill introduction deadline. A Media Advisory will be issued at least 48 hours in advance of the Press Conference.

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