Albany lawmakers — on their way out the door for the session — are looking to pass legislation that would examine whether black New Yorkers deserve reparations for slavery and other historical wrongs.
The bill would establish a nine-member commission to offer non-binding suggestions on how cash payments, “laws, policies, programs” or other approaches could address racial inequality.
“Reparations is [sic] more than just about compensation,” Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Valley Stream), who is sponsoring the bill told the media.
“I think New York is in a unique spot to really define the conversation around reparations and make sure that it’s not just about compensation, but really about acknowledgment and reconciliation of chattel slavery and its legacies,” Solages added.
Needless to say Republicans see this as adding to racial divide.
“I know the recommendations of this commission will be non-binding, but I don’t see this being helpful to race relations in any way. Writing checks on the basis of race would inherently punish millions of New Yorkers for historical wrongs that they had nothing to do with,” Assemblyman Jarrett Gandolfo (R-Bay Shore) said.
“New York doesn’t need a commission to tell us that slavery was wrong,” Assemblyman Matt Slater (R-Yorktown) said. “We should not follow California’s path by creating a task force that produced unconstitutional policies at an $800 billion price tag.”
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Fulton) dismissed the legislation as an attempt by New York Democrats to “out-liberal” their counterparts in other states.
“This is an unreasonable and unworkable measure, opposed by the vast majority of Americans but still being pushed by radical New York Democrats,” he said.
The bill is slated to pass both chambers in Albany by the end of the session and will be sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her signature.