The California Reparations Task Force Wednesday convened for a two-day public comment period to decide how reparations to Black Californians should be paid. The meetings will be live streamed on the California Office of the Attorney General website.
California Assembly Bill 3121 (AB 3121), which was signed into law September 2020, establishes the task force “to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.” The task force is charged with documenting evidence of slavery within the United States, compiling that evidence into a report and recommending appropriate remedies. The task force must submit a final report by July 1, 2023, when AB 3121 sunsets.
The task force completed its nearly 500 page interim-report in June 2022. San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee also proposed a reparations program which would pay $5-million to qualifying residents. Stanford University’s Hoover Institution reported that San Francisco’s proposed plan could cost the city $175 billion.
The preliminary recommendations by the task force recommended deleting language from the California Constitution that permits involuntary servitude as punishment for crime; repealing California Penal Code Section 2700, which requires every “able-bodied prisoner” to perform “as many hours of faithful labor in each day and every day during [their] term of imprisonment” as decided by the state; and measures to desegregate home-ownership and educational opportunities.
One consulting group estimated that California’s state-wide plan could cost the state over $800 billion, assuming 2.5 million eligible residents. The estimate was based on $125,000 for every qualifying resident whose neighborhoods were subject to aggressive policing during the “war on drugs” and another $223,000 per resident to make up for the practice of redlining, the discriminatory withholding of credit services due to race or nationality.