The Craziest Recommendations from California’s Reparations Task Force

After two years of hearings and often contentious debate,  California’s Reparations Task Force delivered its official report to state lawmakers. The 1,100-page report now heads to the state legislature, where Democrats will decide which recommendations should become law.

Notably, the report doesn’t set an exact amount for direct cash payments to black Californians. But it has plenty of other radical policies. Here are eight of the wildest.

Decriminalize Public Urination. The task force suggests police refrain from arresting those caught publicly urinating, trespassing, camping on the street, or evading fares on public transportation.

Arresting such people “criminalizes poverty,” the report says. Public urinators and their ilk are better left to a  “public health and safety institution” without power to arrest or prosecute anyone, according to the task force.

This recommendation will likely irk Bay Area residents, who overwhelmingly say they don’t feel safe in public transit precisely because there aren’t enough police around to prevent disorderly conduct as crime spikes in the state.

Let the Urinators Sue. Should police dare to stop public indecency, the task force suggests letting criminals sue police for damages or paying them outright for their troubles.

In a similar vein, the task force suggests compensating anyone convicted for loitering to solicit sex, which the state legislature decriminalized last year.

Debt Forgiveness For Deadbeat Dads. The task force wants California to ax its 10 percent interest charge for delinquent child support payments and wipe all child support debt, on the grounds that a disproportionate number of fathers who owe child support are black. Such debt “hinders their ability to attend school or job training, maintain housing, and find employment,” the report states. 

Defund School Police. Police and probation officers should be banned from school campuses, and replaced with social workers, psychologists, and wellness centers. Schools that can’t afford to replace officers should just fire them anyway and curtail what remaining officers can do, the task force says.

No More Traffic Violations. The task force suggests prohibiting cops from pulling over cars with expired registration, tinted windows, or broken tail lights. In lieu of tickets, the report suggests mailing warnings to offenders.

Guaranteed Income for Descendants of Slaves. The report says California should expand on its $25 million pilot program that guarantees monthly cash payments for poor pregnant women and youth who have just aged out of foster care. In this case, the guaranteed income would only go to descendants of slaves.


Close the “Racial Wealth Gap.” The report calls for the state to study the racial wealth gap, accounting for differences in black Americans’ home equity, financial assets, and income. The purpose is to help the federal government calculate reparations for all black Americans.

Teach Kids About the Reparations Task Force. California schools should be required to teach high school students about reparations, the task force says—with a particular focus on how black students are disadvantaged.

“In order to educate Californians about the findings and recommendations of the Task Force, and because of the stubborn opportunity gap between African American students and their peers, the Task Force recommends that the Legislature fund the development and implementation of a standard curriculum encompassing the contents of this final report,” the panel wrote.

Perhaps teachers could squeeze that in alongside their lessons on why California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D.) is a historic figure.

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