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California lawmakers advance reparations bill

California lawmakers advance reparations bill
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The California Assembly voted this week to establish a task force to study and propose recommendations for giving reparations to African Americans.

The bill, which passed by a 56-5 margin, comes as the nation is rocked by protests over systemic racism and police use of force after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

The bill calls for the Regents of the University of California “to assemble a colloquium of scholars to draft a research proposal to analyze the economic benefits of slavery that accrued to owners and the businesses, including insurance companies and their subsidiaries, that received those benefits, and to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding those findings.”

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The legislation would also require California’s Insurance Commissioner to obtain information from licensed insurers “regarding any records of slaveholder insurance policies issued by any predecessor corporation during the slavery era.”

The Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans would consist of eight members, at least four of which would “represent major civil society and reparations organizations.” The governor would be required to convene the group for its first meeting no later than June 1, 2021.

Congress held its first hearing in over a decade on a federal bill to study reparations, but the legislation never made it to a vote.

The federal government has in the past given reparations, awarding $20,000 to each surviving victim of Japanese internment camps during World War II in 1988.

“We seem to recognize that justice requires that those who have been treated unjustly need the means to make themselves whole again,” Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who wrote the bill, told CBS13.