California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have extended the life of the state’s historic, first-in-the-nation Reparations Task Force. Newsom’s decision comes after dedicated reparations activists decried the bill as unnecessary and counterproductive.
Sponsored by task force member and Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., Assembly Bill 2296 would have not only extended the life of the task force but also given lawmakers the power to remove current task force members and appoint new ones.
Newsome announced he would veto AB 2296 in a letter to the California State Assembly on Saturday, Sept. 29. He said his decision was based in part on a request from Dr. Shirley Weber, the original author of AB 3121, which established the task force and AB 2296 sought to amend.
“I am returning Assembly Bill 2296 without my signature,” Newsome wrote. “The bill would extend the sunset on the Task Force … clarify that reports published by the task force are within the public domain, and modify provisions relating to the removal of appointees.”
“At the request of the author of the original legislation that created this task force, I am vetoing this bill,” Newsome’s letter concluded.
Weber wasn’t the only reparations activist that opposed AB 2296. Many others called upon Newsom to veto the bill.
Chris Lodgson, the lead organizer for the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California (CJEC); Khansa Jones-Muhammad (also known as Friday Jones) and Chad Brown of the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants Los Angeles’ chapter (NAASDLA); Marcus Champion, Darlene Crumedy and a slew of others railed against the bill.
“I want @GavinNewsom to VETO AB-2296. The CA #Reparations Task Force NEVER asked for (and doesn’t need) more time. And I DO NOT want politics to get in the way of our Reparations!” Lodgson tweeted on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
After learning of Newsom’s decision, reparations activists celebrated the news.
“Woke up to this great news, what a way to kickoff #naasdsummit, once again the @cjecofficial putting in the ground work!!! Congrats to all the Cali Reparationist, forward to #reparations,” activist Mark Stevenson tweeted.
“Congratulations to everyone who made calls and sent emails. This part of the advocacy work is usually not the most glamorous part to talk about, but it is part of the work. And thanks to @GavinNewsom for listening,” a Twitter user identified as Robert Reed wrote.
PHOTO: Then-California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber listens to support for her bill to limit police use of deadly force at the Capitol, June 19, 2018, in Sacramento. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) / Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Oct. 27, 2021.