After apologizing for slavery, California Democrats pass 3 reparations bills in state Senate

SB 1403, SB 1050 and SB 1331 would create an agency to compensate descendants of slaves.

The California State Senate passed a total of three laws (SB 1403, SB 1050 and 1331) to create a repair and financing agency for descendants of slaves or whose relatives suffered abuses by the Californian authorities during the time of slavery for racial reasons.

According to ABC7, the three bills approved—and which will now be voted on in the state Assembly—are part of a broad reparations package of twelve bills presented by the California Legislative Black Caucus in early 2024.

According to the local network, the bills are based on the more than 100 reparations proposals published by the California Reparations Task Force in the summer of 2023.

Democratic state Sen. Steven Bradford, author of all three bills, said during floor discussions that “reparations is a debt that’s owed to descendants of slavery.”

“These are not a handout or charity by any measure. It is what was promised; it’s what is owed and what is 160 years overdue,” he added.

These three approved texts come after another bill was approved where an apology would be issued to black Californians for the state’s role in the institution of slave laws.

They also come after two other bills, SB 1007 and 1013, were rejected in legislative committee.

These bills would have provided assistance for homeownership and created avenues for tax relief for descendants of slaves.

What do the approved reparations bills say?

First, SB 1403, passed this week in the state Senate, addresses the creation of the California Freemen’s Affairs Agency, which would ensure that potential reparations beneficiaries meet the eligibility requirements.

According to the text, to be a beneficiary of the reparations of this law, a person would have to be a descendant of slaves or free blacks who lived in the United States before the end of the 19th century.

For its part, SB 1050 would force the California Freemen’s Affairs Agency to pay reparations to families who suffered confiscation of their property due to abuse by authorities based exclusively on race.

Finally, SB 1331 would allocate funds to reparation policies enacted by California’s governor.

According to ABC7, if the bills pass the Assembly, they could all be presented to Governor Gavin Newsom in September.