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Assemblywoman Shirley Weber. (Photo:Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Slavery Reparations Task Force bill Signed By Gov. Newsom

AB 3121 now faces numerous legal, political challenges that may bar future implementation

By Evan Symon, September 30, 2020 8:05 pm

On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill to set up a task force that could recommend slavery reparations for African-Americans in California.

AB 3121 signed by Newsom

Assembly Bill 3121, authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), would establish the “Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.” The task force would document and look into issues surrounding slavery in California, including denying free and runaway blacks into the state pre-1865, as well as issues recommendations  into what, if any, reparations would be given. The task force, comprised of 9 members selected by the Governor, Assembly, and Senate, would also set parameters on who would be eligible for possible reparations and how reparations, most likely cash, would be distributed.

Assemblywoman Weber wrote the bill earlier this year as a way to “right the wrongs of the past” and to to help fix the post-1865 racial injustice caused by the institution of slavery such as housing discrimination and fewer opportunities stemming from racism. While AB 3121 was seen as unlikely to be passed earlier this year, a large wave of racial justice support coming in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests fueled the bill to be passed in both the Assembly and Senate last month.

Opposition, support for AB 3121

AB 3121 faced a fair amount of opposition during the summer, with a dozen Assembly members even voting against the bill on the Assembly floor. Many argued that California was a free state during the Civil War, but supporters argued back that the reparations would target those hurt by the effects of slavery from over 150 years ago.

“California was nominally a ‘free state,’ but in practice we allowed slavery within our borders even after statehood, while runaway slaves were often denied sanctuary by the courts,” stated Assemblywoman Weber in a statement earlier this year. “After emancipation, California and local municipalities allowed or even actively pursued discriminatory practices akin to those found in the South to deny former slaves and their descendants access to housing, quality education, employment, fair wages, voting rights and the practice of professions.”

“California has come to terms with many of its issues, but it has yet to come to terms with its role in slavery. We’re talking about really addressing the issues of justice and fairness in this country that we have to address.”

These reasons, as well as Newsom’s belief to further acknowledge governmental system flaws that hurt minorities, led to the Governor signing the bill Wednesday afternoon.

“CA just became the first state in the nation to mandate the study and development of proposals for reparations,” said Newsom in a Tweet.  “Our past is one of slavery, racism, and injustice. Our systems were built to oppress people of color. It’s past time we acknowledge that.”

Despite being signed into law, reparations legislation faces numerous legal, political issues that may bar implementation

While now law with a task force to be assigned next year, those who opposed the bill have said that reparations themselves are still unlikely to happen.

“I called this a ‘potential legal minefield‘ before,” legal adviser Richard Weaver told the Globe. “And that is still the case.

“First of all, the task force needs to come into agreement about reparations, and who knows what that will be. And that’s all it will be – a recommendation. It still needs state approval, and that’s where things will get very, very tricky.”

“They need to decide who is eligible. African-Americans? People half-black? Quarter-black? What about Africans who moved here when there wasn’t slavery? Are they covered? What about people who just moved here? Do they get a check simply because of their race? Will it cover people who lived here for five years? Ten years? And what about people who left. Do former black Californians in New York or wherever get a check after the fact?”

“No solution to this will make a lot of people happy, so if this goes before the Senate or Assembly, this can be fought over for a long time. And that’s just one issue with it. There’s the amount, if it’s cash, if it’s other factors like public housing preference. If it’s slavery-based, it could automatically be invalidated at a federal level because no one who was a slave is alive anymore.”

“And if it is legally challenged, this has the potential to go to the Supreme Court, which is just now taking a hard turn into a greater number of right-leaning judges.”

“People are celebrating its passage today. But when the recommendations are made and it comes time to decide, I can’t even count all the highly probable ways it can be shot down.”

If reparations are given and passed by the state, they would become the first large-scale reparations in the country since reparations were given to interned Japanese-Americans in the late 1980’s.

The reparations task force is expected to be formed early next year.

Evan Symon
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23 thoughts on “Slavery Reparations Task Force bill Signed By Gov. Newsom

  1. Reparations will be permanent slavery of everyone that is not part of the BLM terrorist organization power structure. Their motto will be give until it hurts and then give some more. Too much will never be enough once they get a taste of endless free money.

  2. Nobody will answer the salient questions: How much, how often, and for how long? Until then, Fuque off. Besides, your EBT, health care, Obongo phones, and all the rest of your free sh!t are reparations.

  3. Blacks were not the only minority kept as slaves. What about the others? What about present day victims of human trafficking which amounts to present day slavery? Where do they come into this equation? Who do they plan on billing for reparations? Hardly fair for California tax payers to foot the bill as none of us were there at the time or even any time shortly thereafter. Those that would have deserved reparations passed long ago as did those that benefitted from them. Ms. Weber should get a therapist (her gilded insurance at publics expense can afford it) and work through her issues. She should also work through a trainers regimen focusing on her health and well being rather than the well being of those dead for almost a century who were wronged more than a century ago! FAILED LEADERSHIP!

  4. I see King Gavin has spoken again….

    What a colossal waste of time and money…

    All the slaves have long since died and this is just wasteful virtue signaling that’s essentially buying the votes of blacks…

    No way it can pass….

    1. Me too, John. 2021 is my year. I’ve had enough. I’d probably lose “friends” if they knew who I’m voting for this election. It’s disgusting, pitiful and I’m done.

    2. We’ve been thinking the same thing. Were looking at AZ. But all my family and friends are here. But the cost of living, rising crime and constantly higher taxes are killing us. Not to mention one party demonrat rule. We can never get them out of office, they got it all rigged.

    3. Yep…first this, now the microstamping of firearms which is a full-on assault on the 2A, and King Gavin’s energy system mismanagement & non-gas vehicle ban….

      The stupid is REALLY strong here….

  5. The ONLY “reparations” that make sense, practically and morally, are those due FROM, not to, the black criminal underclass for all the damage and harm it’s caused to America since 1619.

  6. Since this will be a government program run by Democrats, 90% of the money will go to waste, fraud or diversions to other programs.

  7. There was slavery but that was in the South. Slavery has been around for thousands of years even before biblical history. To hang blame around the neck of people today is wrong. My family came here in the early 1700’s and were preachers, teachers and one, an architect designed the first treasury building. Were those people evil who owned no slaves? It was the Southern Democrats who owned slaves, were the KKK and opposed integration including Joe Biden. These are the people demanding reparations. They need to look in the mirror.

  8. I just hope they give the money to people who already started businesses and have college degrees, so they can force their agenda on their people like Bill Gates and George Soros do to us.
    There is no utopian equity. People who can’t make money also can’t keep it. It will just destroy lives and cripple our economy to put a little money in a few peoples pockets who could have joined the military and lifted their kids out of poverty like my dad did. This isn’t rocket science and there is no substitute for hard work and sacrifice.

  9. How about the Native Americans and Hispanics that were here before the whiteman and African Americans? Seems once again Newsom has his foot in his mouth.
    Let’s look at this from a practical point of view. If you owned a slave, you’re probably dead unless you’re older than 155 . People really need to pull their head out of the hole in the ground.

  10. Newsom has obviously profited from his white, liberal privilege. I am looking forward to stories about him donating his mansions and wineries to BLM. I know he will be rushing to do the right thing 😉

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