Some New York lawmakers are renewing a bill that would build on the state law reparations to blacks whose ancestors were slaves.
After a California task force recommended it last week, supporters rallied Golden State will pay $569 million in compensation to the descendants of slaves there, or $223,200 each, because of the continuing practice of discriminatory housing.
A pre-proposed New York remedy called to create a commission to study the effects of slavery and pay reparations, but failed to pass the legislature. It is now being revised, supporters say.
“We saw what happened in California. We want to pass a bill that starts the conversation about reparations,” Assemblyman Michael Solages (D-Nassau), chairman of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus of New York, told The Post.
Assemblywoman Taylor Darling (D-Nassau) said it would be a “slap in the face” if Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature don’t greenlight the compensation commission.
Darling also scoffed that the $223,000 per black generation recommended by California’s task force is too low.
“This country was built on the backs of enslaved people. It affected everything—housing, economic development, education.
New York’s previously proposed legislation, which would have created an 11-member commission to study the issue, passed the Assembly on June 3 by a vote of 104-45 but stalled in the Senate.
Solages said he and other supporters want Hochul and the Legislature’s revised bill to include any costs related to the compensation commission in the financial plan until next year’s state budget is approved.
He said he would keep that in mind Khochul recently vetoed 39 measures It would have created, among other things, task forces and commissions to combat fentanyl abuse.
“We want to advance this law as soon as possible. We want to do something meaningful, not ceremonial,” Solages said.
But former Republican Gov. George Pataki says reparations are the wrong way to go.
“I don’t think it’s right to write checks based on race. It’s illegal,” Pataki told The Post.
Sen. George Borrello (R-Jamestown) said the reparations would hurt race relations.
“This is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded giveaway to buy more votes for Democrats,” Borrello said.
He said that his descendants and other New Yorkers were not responsible for the sins of recent generations of slavery, and that the United States was one of the first countries to abolish it.
“Slavery was bad. We fought a bloody war to end it,” the senator said, referring to the civil war.
“We need to focus more on every opportunity.”‘
His conservative colleagues in the Assembly voiced their displeasure with the move.
“It avoids complicated issues like how to determine if a person is related to a former slave, how much to pay, whether the payment is based on a percentage related to the slave, whether they came to the United States or not.” decades to pay, etc.,” said Rep. Andy Goodell (R-Jamestown).
According to Solages, five types of compensation are discussed: direct compensation; restoration of rights and property of the victim; recovery of psychological or mental health; reforming laws to prevent or end discrimination and a government apology or admission of guilt for the sin of slavery.
Khochul spokesman Avi Small told The Post, “Gov. Khochul will consider the legislation if it passes both houses of the legislature.
In March, Hochul issued an executive order creating a 400-year African-American history commission.
There is no mention of compensation in the executive order.
But Hochul said at the time: “For every reminder that New York played an important role in the civil rights struggle, there is another painful reminder of why the struggle was necessary in the first place.
“We must acknowledge and acknowledge the shameful chapters of our state’s past, ensure New Yorkers better understand our history, and fight racism and bigotry in all its forms,” he said.