California became the first state to adopt a law mandating the study and development of proposals for reparations. Assembly Bill 3121, authored by Assembly member Shirley Weber (D), received bipartisan support and was signed into law by CA Governor Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday.
The law establishes a 9-person task force to study the lasting impact of slavery on Black people in California. The task force develops and makes recommendations on reparations that the state could issue to Black descendants of slaves and those affected by slavery.
The group will also relay best practices on educating the public about the history of California’s role in slavery. California was founded as a free state in 1850, more than a decade before slavery was abolished in 1865. However, fugitive slave laws and other legislation created loopholes that punished formerly enslaved people and allowed residents to continue to enslave people if they had purchased those people before statehood.