Florida Senator Introduces Bill to Prohibit Reparations Payments

Florida Senator Introduces Bill to Prohibit Reparations Payments

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
November 27, 2023

Tallahassee, Fl- Senator Blaise Ingoglia(R) has floored a bill in the Florida Senate to prohibit the state of Florida from making any reparations payments in perpetuity. 

Reparation payments considered in the bill are those potentially arising from claims of descendants of enslaved individuals. 

The bill proposes to amend Florida’s Constitution so as to constitutionally enshrine a ban on any form of such reparation payments. 

In 2019,  Evanston, Illinois became the first US city to pay reparations to Black individuals, reportedly paying over $10 million. 

California’s ‘Reparations Task Force’ has also recommended the state pay some black residents reparations for historical discrimination. CalMatters, a California nonprofit news organization, calculated the state could end up having to pay each black resident up to $1.2 million. 

No similar serious reparations initiatives have begun in Florida, but Senator Ingoglia’s proposal seeks to proactively eliminate any opportunity for potential reparations requests. 

“The state, a county, a municipality, or any other political subdivision may not pay compensation in the form of reparations to an individual who is a descendant of an enslaved individual who lived in the United States before December 6, 1865,” reads the proposed amendment. 

If passed by the legislature, the amendment would then have to be approved by 60% of the Florida electorate in the next elections. 

Florida’s State library archives reveals Florida’s slavery history is complex and nuanced. 

Florida’s slave population altered with each colonial power that controlled the territory. Spanish colonizers created the first slave plantations, a practice the British continued and Americans ultimately expanded upon.  

Of course, it was not until the end of the civil war in 1865 that slavery was legally prohibited in Florida. 

Nearly two hundred years later, legislation such as today’s reveals the question over how to best reconcile America’s history of slavery is still relevant. 

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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