NATIONAL NEWS

California reparations report urges action on housing discrimination and overpolicing

Jun 29, 2023, 5:09 PM

From left, State Sen. Steven Bradford, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, task force member Lisa Hol...

From left, State Sen. Steven Bradford, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, task force member Lisa Holder and Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer hold up a final report of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans during a hearing in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, June 29, 2023. The report heads to lawmakers who will be responsible for turning policy recommendations into legislation. Reparations will not happen until lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom agree. (AP Photo/Haven Daley)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — It was a report two years in the making — one that details how California, a state that never officially sanctioned slavery, can confront decades of policies that have kept Black residents from living in the neighborhoods they choose, being treated fairly at doctor’s visits and building generational wealth.

California’s reparations task force completed its work Thursday and turned more than 100 recommendations over to the Legislature, the first work of its kind in the U.S. The nearly 1,100-page document recommends the state formally apologize and suggests how to calculate monetary reparations.

Here’s what the task force examined:

HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

The report recounts California policies that have kept Black families from retaining property and living in certain neighborhoods. The effects of redlining, which led to Black families being denied home loans; and eminent domain, where residents’ property was seized by the government, still linger, the report states.

The panel recommended returning property unjustly seized from Black residents. It also urged lawmakers to offer property tax relief to African American homeowners living in historically redlined neighborhoods.

OVERPOLICING AND MASS INCARCERATION

The task force condemned policies and practices that have led to Black Californians being disproportionally stopped by police, killed by law enforcement or imprisoned.

Recommendations include ending the death penalty, banning cash bail, requiring anti-bias training for police officers and funding education for more African American prospective lawyers. The panel also called on lawmakers to bar searches by law enforcement based on a person’s consent alone.

HEALTH HARMS

The committee urged lawmakers to address disparities in maternal mortality and treatment for substance abuse. Members also called for lawmakers to set aside money to research rising suicide rates among African American youth.

Another suggestion is to fund wellness centers in historically Black neighborhoods to address mental health issues and refer patients for psychiatric or medical care.

PAYMENTS

The recommendations include paying Black Californians who lived in the state while certain discriminatory policies were in effect. The task force voted to limit eligibility to people descended from free or enslaved Black people living in the United States by the end of the 19th century. The panel stopped short of endorsing a fixed dollar amount for individuals. But the members recommended calculations from economists projecting the state is responsible for more than $500 billion for overpolicing, mass incarceration and housing discrimination.

AGENCY

The task force recommended creating an agency to implement and oversee reparations programs and help people research their family history to find out if they may be eligible for compensation.

NEXT STEPS

Any policy changes must come through legislation signed by the governor. State Sen. Steven Bradford and Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, both Los Angeles-area Democrats on the task force, have both said they plan to previously cautioned that it would be difficult to get large cash payments approved.

___

Sophie Austin is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Austin on Twitter: @sophieadanna.

National News

Associated Press

Billion-dollar Mitsubishi chemical plant economically questionable, energy group says

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A $1.3 billion chemical production facility to be built in Louisiana by Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi is economically questionable and unnecessarily increases greenhouse gas emissions, according to an energy think tank report released Monday. The proposed Mitsubishi plant is “the wrong project, at the wrong place and time, with the wrong financial […]

23 minutes ago

Associated Press

Watchdog who criticized NYPD’s handling of officer discipline resigns

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of an oversight board that investigates allegations of misconduct by New York City police officers announced her resignation Monday, ending a tenure in which she had publicly criticized the NYPD’s handling of a major disciplinary case and sought to expand the panel’s authority. Arva Rice, the interim chair of […]

58 minutes ago

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at her campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Del., Monday, July ...

Associated Press

Democrats plan to push ahead with virtual roll call ahead of their convention, with Harris favored

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic Party plans to push forward with a virtual roll call in which delegates to its convention can choose a presidential nominee before they meet in person next month in Chicago, with Vice President Kamala Harris heavily favored now that President Joe Biden has abandoned his reelection bid. The convention rules […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Safety regulators are investigating another low flight by a Southwest jet, this time in Florida

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials are investigating an incident in which a Southwest Airlines jet flew as low as 150 feet (45 meters) over water while it was still about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from its intended landing spot at the airport in Tampa, Florida. The pilots skipped over the Tampa airport and landed instead […]

3 hours ago

FILE - A motorist passes by a flag of the Islamic State group in central Rawah, 175 miles (281 kilo...

Associated Press

UN envoy warns that threat of terrorism is `resurging’ with attacks by Islamic State extremists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The top U.N. envoy for Syria told the Security Council on Monday that the threat of terrorism is “resurging” with attacks by Islamic State extremists set to double this year, endangering civilians already facing a “protracted state of displacement and dire humanitarian conditions.” U.N. Special Envoy Geir Pedersen said Syria is […]

3 hours ago

Police vehicles park outside a JCPenney as they respond to a reported shooting at NorthPark Mall in...

Associated Press

Local sheriff says shots fired inside an Iowa mall

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Shots were fired inside an Iowa mall on Monday, a local sheriff said. There was no immediate word on any injuries. Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane confirmed the shooting Monday inside NorthPark Mall in Davenport, an east-central Iowa city near the border with Illinois, KWQC-TV reported. Authorities haven’t said if there […]

3 hours ago

California reparations report urges action on housing discrimination and overpolicing