Text: S.1083 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (04/09/2019)

 
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[S. 1083 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1083

     To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and 
inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies 
   between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and 
   consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the 
institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and 
 economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of 
 these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to 
     the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             April 9, 2019

  Mr. Booker introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
               referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
     To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and 
inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies 
   between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and 
   consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the 
institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and 
 economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of 
 these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to 
     the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``H.R. 40 Commission to Study and 
Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--The Congress finds that--
            (1) approximately 4,000,000 Africans and their descendants 
        were enslaved in the United States and colonies that became the 
        United States from 1619 to 1865;
            (2) the institution of slavery was constitutionally and 
        statutorily sanctioned by the Government of the United States 
        from 1789 through 1865;
            (3) the slavery that flourished in the United States 
        constituted an immoral and inhumane deprivation of Africans' 
        life, liberty, African citizenship rights, and cultural 
        heritage, and denied them the fruits of their own labor;
            (4) a preponderance of scholarly, legal, community 
        evidentiary documentation and popular culture markers 
        constitute the basis for inquiry into the on-going effects of 
        the institution of slavery and its legacy of persistent 
        systemic structures of discrimination on living African-
        Americans and society in the United States;
            (5) following the abolition of slavery, the United States 
        Government, at the Federal, State, and local levels, continued 
        to perpetuate, condone, and often profit from practices that 
        continued to brutalize and disadvantage African-Americans, 
        including share cropping, convict leasing, Jim Crow, redlining, 
        unequal education, and disproportionate treatment at the hands 
        of the criminal justice system; and
            (6) as a result of the historic and continued 
        discrimination, African-Americans continue to suffer 
        debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships 
        including having nearly 1,000,000 Black people incarcerated, an 
        unemployment rate more than twice the current White 
        unemployment rate, and an average of less than \1/16\ of the 
        wealth of White families, a disparity which has worsened, not 
        improved, over time.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to--
            (1) establish a commission to study and develop Reparation 
        proposals for African-Americans as a result of--
                    (A) the institution of slavery, including both the 
                Trans-Atlantic and the domestic ``trade'' which existed 
                from 1565 in colonial Florida and from 1619 through 
                1865 within the other colonies that became the United 
                States, and which included the Federal and State 
                governments that constitutionally and statutorily 
                supported the institution of slavery;
                    (B) the de jure and de facto discrimination against 
                freed slaves and their descendants from the end of the 
                Civil War to the present, including economic, 
                political, educational, and social discrimination;
                    (C) the lingering negative effects of the 
                institution of slavery and the discrimination described 
                in subparagraphs (A) and (B) on living African-
                Americans and on society in the United States;
                    (D) the manner in which textual and digital 
                instructional resources and technologies are being used 
                to deny the inhumanity of slavery and the crime against 
                humanity of people of African descent in the United 
                States;
                    (E) the role of Northern complicity in the Southern 
                based institution of slavery; and
                    (F) the direct benefits of the institutions and 
                systems described in subparagraphs (A) through (C) to 
                societal institutions, public and private (including 
                higher education and corporations), religious and 
                associational;
            (2) recommend appropriate ways to educate the people of the 
        United States of the Commission's findings;
            (3) recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the 
        Commission's findings on the matters described in subparagraphs 
        (A) through (F) of paragraph (1); and
            (4) submit to the Congress the results of such examination 
        and the recommendations of the Commission.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT AND DUTIES.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established the Commission to Study 
and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans (hereinafter in 
this Act referred to as the ``Commission'').
    (b) Duties.--The Commission shall perform the following duties:
            (1) Identify, compile, and synthesize the relevant corpus 
        of evidentiary documentation of the institution of slavery that 
        existed within the United States and the colonies that became 
        the United States from 1619 through 1865. The Commission's 
        documentation and examination shall include the facts related 
        to--
                    (A) the capture and procurement of Africans;
                    (B) the transport of Africans to the United States 
                and the colonies that became the United States for the 
                purpose of enslavement, including their treatment 
                during transport;
                    (C) the sale and acquisition of Africans as chattel 
                property in interstate and intrastate commerce;
                    (D) the treatment of African slaves in the colonies 
                and the United States, including the deprivation of 
                their freedom, exploitation of their labor, and 
                destruction of their culture, language, religion, and 
                families; and
                    (E) the extensive denial of humanity, sexual abuse, 
                and chatellization of persons.
            (2) Examine the role of the Federal and State governments 
        of the United States in supporting the institution of slavery 
        in constitutional and statutory provisions, including the 
        extent to which such governments prevented, opposed, or 
        restricted efforts of formerly enslaved Africans and their 
        descendants to repatriate to their homeland.
            (3) Examine the Federal and State laws that discriminated 
        against formerly enslaved Africans and their descendants who 
        were deemed United States citizens from 1868 to the present.
            (4) Examine the other forms of discrimination in the public 
        and private sectors against freed African slaves and their 
        descendants who were deemed United States citizens from 1868 to 
        the present, including redlining, educational funding 
        discrepancies, and predatory financial practices.
            (5) Examine the lingering negative effects of the 
        institution of slavery and the matters described in paragraphs 
        (1) through (4) and in subparagraphs (A) through (F) of section 
        2(b)(1) on living African-Americans and on society in the 
        United States.
            (6) Recommend appropriate ways to educate the American 
        public of the Commission's findings.
            (7) Recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the 
        Commission's findings on the matters described in paragraphs 
        (1) through (5) and in subparagraphs (A) through (F) of section 
        2(b)(1). In making such recommendations, the Commission shall 
        address, among other issues, the following:
                    (A) How such recommendations comport with 
                international standards of remedy for wrongs and 
                injuries caused by the State, which include full 
                reparations and special measures, as understood by 
                various relevant international protocols, laws, and 
                findings.
                    (B) How the Government of the United States will 
                offer a formal apology on behalf of the people of the 
                United States for the perpetration of gross human 
                rights violations and crimes against humanity on 
                African slaves and their descendants.
                    (C) How Federal laws and policies that continue to 
                disproportionately and negatively affect African-
                Americans as a group, and those that perpetuate the 
                lingering effects, materially and psycho-social, can be 
                eliminated.
                    (D) How the injuries resulting from the matters 
                described in paragraphs (1) through (5) and in 
                subparagraphs (A) through (F) of section 2(b)(1) can be 
                reversed and appropriate policies, programs, projects 
                and recommendations for the purpose of reversing the 
                injuries.
                    (E) How, in consideration of the Commission's 
                findings, any form of compensation to the descendants 
                of enslaved Africans is calculated.
                    (F) What form of compensation should be awarded, 
                through what instrumentalities, and who should be 
                eligible for such compensation.
                    (G) How, in consideration of the Commission's 
                findings, any other forms of rehabilitation or 
                restitution to African descendants is warranted and 
                what the form and scope of those measures should take.
    (c) Report to Congress.--The Commission shall submit a written 
report of its findings and recommendations to the Congress not later 
than the date that is one year after the date of the first meeting of 
the Commission held pursuant to section 4(c).

SEC. 4. MEMBERSHIP.

    (a) In General.--
            (1) Number and appointment.--The Commission shall be 
        composed of 13 members, who shall be appointed, within 90 days 
        after the date of enactment of this Act, as follows:
                    (A) Three members shall be appointed by the 
                President.
                    (B) Three members shall be appointed by the Speaker 
                of the House of Representatives.
                    (C) One member shall be appointed by the President 
                pro tempore of the Senate.
                    (D) Six members shall be selected from the major 
                civil society and reparations organizations that have 
                historically championed the cause of reparatory 
                justice.
            (2) Qualifications.--All members of the Commission shall be 
        persons who are especially qualified to serve on the Commission 
        by virtue of their education, training, activism, or 
        experience, particularly in the field of African-American 
        studies and reparatory justice.
    (b) Terms.--The term of office for members shall be for the life of 
the Commission. A vacancy in the Commission shall not affect the powers 
of the Commission and shall be filled in the same manner in which the 
original appointment was made.
    (c) First Meeting.--The President shall call the first meeting of 
the Commission within 120 days after the date of the enactment of this 
Act or within 30 days after the date on which legislation is enacted 
making appropriations to carry out this Act, whichever date is later.
    (d) Quorum.--Seven members of the Commission shall constitute a 
quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.
    (e) Chair and Vice Chair.--The Commission shall elect a Chair and 
Vice Chair from among its members. The term of office of each shall be 
for the life of the Commission.
    (f) Compensation.--
            (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), each 
        member of the Commission shall be compensated at a rate equal 
        to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay 
        established for a position at level V of the Executive Schedule 
        under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code, for each day 
        (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in 
        the performance of duties vested in the Commission.
            (2) Federal employees.--A member of the Commission who is a 
        full-time officer or employee of the United States or a Member 
        of Congress shall receive no additional pay, allowances, or 
        benefits by reason of the member's service to the Commission.
            (3) Travel expenses.--All members of the Commission shall 
        be reimbursed for travel, subsistence, and other necessary 
        expenses incurred by the members in the performance of their 
        duties to the extent authorized by chapter 57 of title 5, 
        United States Code.

SEC. 5. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Hearings and Sessions.--The Commission may, for the purpose of 
carrying out the provisions of this Act, hold such hearings and sit and 
act at such times and at such places in the United States, and request 
the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of 
such books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents, 
as the Commission considers appropriate. The Commission may invoke the 
aid of an appropriate United States district court to require, by 
subpoena or otherwise, such attendance, testimony, or production.
    (b) Powers of Subcommittees and Members.--Any subcommittee or 
member of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any 
action which the Commission is authorized to take under this section.
    (c) Obtaining Official Data.--The Commission may acquire directly 
from the head of any department, agency, or instrumentality of the 
executive branch of the Federal Government, available information which 
the Commission considers useful in the discharge of its duties. All 
departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the executive branch of 
the Government shall cooperate with the Commission with respect to such 
information and shall furnish all information requested by the 
Commission to the extent permitted by law.

SEC. 6. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.

    (a) Staff.--The Commission may, without regard to the civil service 
laws and regulations, appoint and fix the compensation of such 
personnel as the Commission considers appropriate.
    (b) Applicability of Certain Civil Service Laws.--The personnel of 
the Commission may be appointed without regard to the provisions of 
title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive 
service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and 
subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title, relating to classification 
and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of basic pay of 
any employee of the Commission may not exceed the rate of basic pay 
established for a position at level V of the Executive Schedule under 
section 5316 of such title.
    (c) Experts and Consultants.--The Commission may procure the 
services of experts and consultants in accordance with the provisions 
of section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, but at rates for 
individuals not to exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of 
basic pay established for a position at level V of the Executive 
Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
    (d) Administrative Support Services.--The Commission may enter into 
agreements with the Administrator of General Services for procurement 
of financial and administrative services necessary for the discharge of 
the duties of the Commission. Payment for such services shall be made 
by reimbursement from funds of the Commission in such amounts as may be 
agreed upon by the Chairman of the Commission and the Administrator.
    (e) Contracts.--The Commission may--
            (1) procure supplies, services, and property by contract in 
        accordance with applicable laws and regulations and to the 
        extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriations 
        Acts; and
            (2) enter into contracts with departments, agencies, and 
        instrumentalities of the Federal Government, State agencies, 
        and private firms, institutions, and agencies, for the conduct 
        of research or surveys, the preparation of reports, and other 
        activities necessary for the discharge of the duties of the 
        Commission, to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in 
        appropriations Acts.

SEC. 7. TERMINATION.

    The Commission shall terminate 90 days after the date on which the 
Commission submits its report to the Congress under section 3(c).

SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    To carry out the provisions of this Act, there are authorized to be 
appropriated $12,000,000.
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