California considering issuing reparations for slavery

Gavin Newsom

The state of California will consider issuing reparations for slavery to black residents. Gov. Gavin Newsom signing a bill into law on Wednesday that will create a task force to study the matter.

AB 312, authored by Assemblywoman Shirly Weber (D-San Diego), establishes a first-in-the-nation task force that will inform Californians about slavery, explore ways the state might provide reparations and make recommendations on doing so. 

The task force will have a total of nine members, five of whom will be appointed by the governor. The state Senate president pro tempore and the Assembly speaker will each appoint two members to the task force.

“As a nation, we can only truly thrive when every one of us has the opportunity to thrive. Our painful history of slavery has evolved into structural racism and bias built into and permeating throughout our democratic and economic situations,” Newsom said in a statement. “California’s rich diversity is our greatest asset, and we won’t turn away from this moment to make right the discrimination and disadvantages that black Californians and people of color still face. While there is still so much work to do to unravel this legacy, these pieces of legislation are important steps in the right direction to building a more inclusive and equitable future for all.”

In addition to signing the bill on studying reparations, Newsom also signed into law on Wednesday legislation that aims to eliminate discrimination in jury selection. The governor also signed a bill that prohibits the use of race, ethnicity and national origin to seek or obtain convictions or to impose sentences.