California Allocates Millions For Reparations in 2024 Budget Agreement

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jul 03, 2024

The 2024 budget agreement in California, led by Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro-Tempore Mike McGuire, and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, allocates a whopping $297.9 billion in total expenditures.

A notable highlight is the $12 million dedicated to reparations resources, marking a significant step toward addressing historical racial injustices in the state.

Significance of the $12 Million Allocation

Assemblymember Lori Wilson considers the $12 million allocation a win.

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“While the Legislative Black Caucus is committed to getting our legislative work on Reparations fully funded, I believe this is a positive start, especially during a challenging budget year,” she stated, emphasizing the multi-year effort required for full implementation.

California Reparations Task Force's Final Report

Earlier this year, the California Reparations Task Force released a groundbreaking final report, guiding the Legislative Black Caucus’s first slate of reparations bills.

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These proposals aim to address the state’s extensive history of anti-Black discrimination, spanning from the enslavement era to present-day issues.

Additional Measures for Reparative Justice

Beyond the main package of reparations bills, other individual measures have been introduced to advance reparative justice in California.

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These measures collectively aim to address the deep-seated inequities faced by Black communities in the state.

Senate Bill 1403: Establishing the Freedmen Affairs Agency

Senate Bill 1403, authored by Senator Steven Bradford, proposes the creation of the California American Freedmen Affairs Agency.

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This agency would help administer reparations, with dedicated offices for genealogy and legal affairs to support claims and monitor the implementation of reparative measures by state agencies.

Senate Bill 1050: Restoring Seized Property

Senate Bill 1050 aims to restore property seized through race-based eminent domain to the original owners or their descendants. If restoration is not feasible, the bill provides for financial compensation.

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This measure seeks to rectify injustices experienced by Black Californians whose properties were unfairly taken.


Senate Bill 1331: Funding Reparative Justice

Senate Bill 1331 would establish the Fund for Reparations and Reparative Justice in the state treasury.

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This fund would finance reparations initiatives approved by the legislature and governor, ensuring that the financial resources necessary for reparative measures are available.


Senator Steven Bradford's Advocacy

Senator Steven Bradford, a member of the California Reparations Task Force, has been a vocal advocate for reparative justice.

California State Senator Steven Bradford waving

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“Many people, again, will say California wasn’t a slave state. Yes, we were,” Bradford told the Assembly Judiciary Committee, highlighting the ongoing harms of slavery in California and across the nation.


Multi-Year Effort for Reparations Implementation

The effort to implement reparations in California is seen as a multi-year process. Assemblymember Lori Wilson emphasized this point, noting that the $12 million allocation in the 2024 budget is just the beginning.

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The Legislative Black Caucus is committed to seeing these efforts through to full implementation.


Legislative Voting Timeline

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the 2024 budget deal through a series of bills ahead of the July 1 start of the next fiscal year.

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These votes will determine the immediate future of California’s reparations efforts and set the stage for the long-term implementation of these measures.


A Historic Step Forward

The allocation of $12 million for reparations in California’s 2024 budget marks a historic step forward in addressing past and present injustices.

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This funding demonstrates a commitment to rectifying the long legacy of anti-Black discrimination in the state.


Looking Ahead

As California embarks on this multi-year journey toward reparative justice, the initial allocation of $12 million is a crucial starting point.

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The continued advocacy and legislative efforts of the California Reparations Task Force and the Legislative Black Caucus will be key to ensuring lasting change and justice for Black Californians.