California will develop a detailed plan for granting reparations to black Americans under a new law Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Wednesday.
The law creates a nine-member task force to come up with proposals for how the state could provide reparations to black Americans, what form those reparations might take and who would be eligible to receive them.
The reparations would not be limited to slavery, but the law requires the task force to give special consideration for black people who are descendants of slaves.
The task force’s recommendations would not be binding. The task force must give a report to the state Legislature one year after its first meeting.
“This is not just about California, this is about making an impact, and a dent, across the rest of the country,” Newsom said moments after signing the bill during a ceremony broadcast on his YouTube channel.
Slavery was never legal in California. It entered the Union in 1850 as a free state.
But the state did let slave owners bring their slaves to California. The Legislature also passed a law making it legal to arrest runaway slaves and return them to their owners.
A similar proposal to study reparations for black Americans was first introduced in Congress in 1989.
It never passed, but Congress held a hearing on the proposal last year.
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