$100 million reparations bill introduced at the Minnesota Legislature

It was a busy week for the issue of reparations across America.

HF 2397 was introduced last week by freshman state Rep. Samakab Hussein (DFL-St. Paul) as the “Minnesota Migration Act.” A similar bill was introduced last year by now-former Rep. John Thompson, also a St. Paul Democrat, who sat as an independent in his final year in office.

Unlike Thompson’s effort, the new bill has six co-authors. [The Senate companion bill is SF 2980.] This bill was referred to the House’s Judiciary Committee. The committee’s Vice Chair is one of the co-authors.

The bill (line 6.22) includes an appropriation of $100 million in the first year. The money would be distributed as grants through the state’s Human Rights department.

The bill (p. 2) would have the state issue a general apology for slavery and for seven additional specific items. The bill would create an advisory council consisting of 19 voting members.

According to a profile in the Sahan Journal, Rep. Hussein was born in Somalia and emigrated to the United States at the age of 14, which would place the date circa 1995. In his bill, he seeks to right wrongs suffered by African Americans dating back to 1619 (line 1.15).

The land which is now Minnesota did not become part of the United States until 1783 (Second Treaty of Paris), 1803 (Louisiana Purchase), and 1818 (for the Red River Valley), respectively. Minnesota fought on the side of the Union during the American Civil War.

The State of California is much further along on the issue. A state task force is finalizing recommendations that would see each of 1.8 million residents receive approximately $360,000.

The City and County of San Francisco is considering a much more ambitious proposal, which would provide a lump sum of $5 million per recipient. The San Francisco figure of $5 million is not based on actual math calculations, according to an interview conducted by the Washington Post of those involved in the process.

Here in Minnesota, the City of St. Paul is moving ahead with its reparation efforts, The city is accepting applications to become a member of its commission until March 24.