Lawmaker wants Florida voters to consider banning reparations payments in the state

Democratic legislators have dismissed the resolution as a fundraising ploy and distraction from educational and financial disparities in the state.

A Florida state senator has proposed legislation to allow voters to determine if the state should ban paying reparations to descendants of American enslaved people. The senator, Blaise Ingoglia, a Republican from Spring Hill, Florida, has pushed for placing the measure on ballots for the next general election or special election.

The Florida Legislature has not proposed considering or paying reparations for enslavement. Democratic senators described Ingoglia’s proposal as an attention-seeking, fundraising distraction from the same lawmaker who proposed eliminating any filings from the Democratic Party in Florida and forcing registered Democrats to switch parties to participate in primary elections.

“How can we take a bill seriously from someone who literally tried to “Cancel” the Democratic Party legislatively last year?” asked Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones, according to Capital Soup. “It is perennially disappointing that Sen. Ingoglia and his allies in Tallahassee choose to manufacture crises over taking action on the pressing issues facing Floridians today.”

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Ingoglia contends that his proposal is a preventative measure that drove his attempt to prohibit a “county, a municipality, or any other political subdivision” from paying “compensation in the form of reparations to an individual who is a descendant of an enslaved individual who lived in the 21 United States before December 6, 1865,” as the bill reads.

“Florida should be proactive because bad ideas in some states seem to find their way into other states,” he said, Florida Politics reported.

As previously reported, a number of U.S. states and cities have proposed compensating the descendants of enslaved Americans because chattel slavery continues to affect the financial health of Black Americans, whose assets on average total $142,330 compared with those of white households, which average $980,549. Specifically, Evanston, Illinois; Boston; Amherst, Massachusetts; San Francisco; and California have all offered or have studied providing reparations to their Black citizens who are descendants of enslaved people.

Ingoglia proposed the legislation last week, and yesterday it moved to the legislative committees for Fiscal Policy, Community Affairs, Appropriations and Rules, according to the Senate’s site that tracks the joint resolution’s progress.

Jones’ response to the legislative move included a recommendation for legislators to focus on measures that would address the lack of affordable housing, property insurance problems, gun violence and inequity in public education instead of unnecessary anti-reparations efforts.

State Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) dismissed Ingoglia’s proposal as a financial stunt, telling a local news outlet, “It’s simply a bill to rile up the base so they can raise money and they can distract from their failing leadership in Tallahassee.”

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