Senator Bradford introduces historic reparations legislation to address California’s role in slavery and systemic discrimination

Amendments to SB 490 mark the first substantive legislation introduced following the CA Reparations Task Force’s Final Report
August 22, 2023

SACRAMENTO – Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) has introduced legislation that will create a new state agency in California to administer reparations to the descendants of slavery. The California American Freedman Affairs Agency is one of the recommendations that came directly as a result of Senator Bradford’s work on the California Reparations Task Force.

“This historic legislation lays the groundwork for the future,” said Senator Bradford. “My fellow task force members and I have documented the harm, detailed its generational impact, and determined the way forward to right these wrongs. The Freedman Affairs Agency will establish the instrumental infrastructure California will need as our state takes responsibility for the historical harms that have been committed.”

As amended, SB 490 would create a new state agency called the California American Freedman Affairs Agency. This agency would be tasked with overseeing the infrastructure behind administering reparations as determined by the Legislature and Governor.

“Each year, the California State Legislature introduces legislation to stop and prevent wage theft because we know workers have a right to fair compensation. Over our history, this land and nation have benefited from 250 years of wage theft through slavery. Just as my colleagues support those bills relating to wage theft, they should also support reparations-related legislation. Reparations are not a gift. They are not a hand-out or charity, but they are what was promised, owed, and overdue,” said Senator Bradford.

The introduction of SB 490 will allow the legislative policy discussions around reparations to begin.  SB 490 will be eligible for a vote by the Legislature next year.




Senator Bradford served as a member of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans.  He is Vice Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, and represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.