Nine lawmakers from California, United States, have introduced a set of 14 bills that address various issues ranging from the prison system, compensation for land expropriations, and even discrimination based on hairstyles in sports competitions.
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The parliamentary committee developed a series of state responses to centuries of apartheid-era injustice. California banned slavery in its 1849 constitution, but the practice continued without punishing slave owners.
The group of politicians, academics, economists and historians prepared 111 recommendations that the legislature must approve. Once approved, these laws could serve as a signal to other states such as Colorado, New York and Massachusetts that have already implemented similar practices, but have not become laws.
“These harms can be found in education, access to housing, and small business financing, all of which have deprived a generation of collective wealth for hundreds of years,” said Los Angeles Congressman Reginald Jones Sawyer, a member of the committee. .
Monetary compensation to descendants of or affected by slavery was excluded from this body of laws. The proposal by local Senator Stephen Bradford of Los Angeles provided for financial compensation for land expropriations during segregation. The cost of this measure may reach at least $500 billion. The annual budget of California, the most populous state in the country, is about $297 billion. Under the proposed rules, a 70-year-old California resident could receive up to $1.2 million.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the commission's goal was not to issue checks, but to correct systemic injustices caused by racism, which can be addressed “in different ways.” Newsom's position was supported by a majority of parliamentarians, including from a black seat.
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