The California Reparations Task Force voted to extend the report deadline from July 2023 to July 2024. The vote was 8-0 to extend the deadline to submit a proposal for African-American reparations in California.
The Task Force was first put together in late 2020 following Gov. Gavin Newsom signing AB 3121, the bill which created the task force. While initially encompassing all people of African descent, the group of those qualified to receive reparations was significantly narrowed in March 2022 when the task force voted to limit the possible reparations only to those who are an African American descendant of an enslaved person or free Black person living in the U.S. prior to the end of the 19th century.
The slow decision over that singular issue led to other slow decisions, including their first report only coming out in June of 2022 giving vague recommendations of reparations: home buying assistance, free college tuition, and business grants. The report was heavily criticized as a result, with many noting a lack of any monetary figure. By the time the $569 billion estimate was released in December, many questions still lingered, including compensation amounts and eligibility, along with an even greater outcry over the estimate amount.
During the meeting in San Diego over the weekend, those issues continued, as well as making the Californian plan a blueprint for other states in the nation was added. While little progress was made, the Task Force did say yet again, they would support the extension by another year.
“The task force supports, in spirit, the extension of the life of the task force, by another year, July 1, 2024, for implementation purpose only,” said Task Force Chairwoman Kamilah Moore. “We do not authorize or write legislation, but all agreed as a task force the idea of continuing this work to ensure that reparations become a reality in California.”
However, despite the Task Force the year extension, it comes only months after Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed previous legislation that formalize an extension. Last year’s Assembly Bill 2296, authored by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), would have specifically removed set terms of office for task force members and would instead remove them whenever the appointing authority deemed fit. The Task Force itself would have also been allowed to set up subcommittees and advisory bodies to help complete their intended duties. Another year would have also been given to allow more time to finish up their respective reports, with a revised Task Force end date of July 1, 2024.
Worry about breaking a set deadline, as well as concerns that an extension would demoralize African-Americans hoping to get reparations led to the veto last year. Other factors included the state having a strict deadline and discussion plan in place. Many in the Capitol noted on Wednesday that should another piece of legislation pushing for an extension be put forward that it would likely be vetoed again.
“The Task Force had a long time to come up with a reparations plan, and many here have begun to be a bit annoyed with it,” “Dana” a State Capitol staffer told the Globe on Wednesday. “Every decision they make seems to have been the wrong one. They are not gaining supporters due to how they have been slowly alienating everyone around this. The half a trillion certainly didn’t help, neither has all the other problems that have come up. Reparations might be passed still in the future, but the fact they are begging for extra time now amid all this is adding to the worry.”
More Reparations Task Force meetings are expected throughout the first half of 2023.
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