Senator proposes banning reparations for descendants of slaves
Blaise Ingoglia. Image via Colin Hackley.

Dozens of cities across the country and the state of California are now working to provide reparations to their Black residents

Sen. Blaise Ingoglia wants to end the debate in Florida over whether reparations should be paid to descendants of slaves — by banning it in the state constitution.

On Monday, he filed a resolution (SJR 582) that would place a question on the 2024 ballot asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment prohibiting any government in Florida from “paying reparations to certain individuals.”

Those individuals, the measure says, include anyone with an ancestor who was “an enslaved individual who lived in the United States before Dec. 6, 1865.”

Congress abolished slavery that day through the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Ingoglia’s proposal would first have to clear both chambers of the Legislature with 60% support before being placed on the ballot.

He told Florida Politics the intent of the measure is to prevent politicians from using the issue of reparations for political gain while also giving voters a direct say in the matter.

“Congress, as well as politicians in states like California, and others, are proposing reparations. Florida should be proactive because bad ideas in some states seem to find their way into other states,” he said. “Giving the voters the option to enshrine the prohibition into our Constitution takes the prospect of vote buying in the form of ‘reparations’ off the table, in order for legislators and community leaders to talk about how to really make a difference in black and brown communities.”

The Spring Hill Republican was also quoted Monday saying, “Voters deserve a voice on whether their tax dollars should be used (to) further the agendas of candidates or elected officials who engage in race baiting tactics for political gain.”

Ingoglia, a former Florida GOP Chair who goes by the X handle @GovGoneWild, has used the issue of slavery to score political points. In February, he filed a bill (SB 1248) titled the “Ultimate Cancel Act” that would have eliminated the Democratic Party for once including slavery as part of its platform.

“For years now, leftist activists have been trying to ‘cancel’ people and companies for things they have said or done in the past. This includes the removal of statues and memorials, and the renaming of buildings,” he said at the time. “Using this standard, it would be hypocritical not to cancel the Democratic Party itself for the same reason.”

The bill died without a hearing.

Another measure by Fort Myers Republican Sen. Jonathan Martin that would have created protections for monuments of war, including those of confederate soldiers, fared slightly better but also died before reaching a floor vote. Ingoglia did not have a chance to weigh in on that bill, but he’ll get another chance to; it’s been refiled for the upcoming Session.

Miami Gardens Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones, who has butted heads with Ingoglia on other controversial measures the Republican brought forth concerning immigration and election issues, called the anti-reparations proposal a “scare tactic” designed to distract voters from GOP mismanagement of the state.

“How can we take a bill seriously from someone who literally tried to ‘cancel’ the Democratic Party legislatively last year? 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,” he told Florida Politics. “From the property insurance crisis to housing affordability to education disparities to gun violence, families across the state are kept up at night, worried and wondering why no one is tackling these challenges. Florida deserves better.”

Arguments for and against reparations for slavery have carried on in the U.S. for more than two centuries. In recent years, support has grown among progressives who point to issues like gentrification, racial disparities in health outcomes and incarceration rates, and discrimination within financial and educational institutions as proof it remains a worthwhile solution.

A 2019 study by Yale social psychologist Michael Kraus, for instance, found a sizable racial wealth gap persists that significantly exceeds public perception. While most people believe that Black families have about $90 for every $100 a White family has today, the actual median household wealth of Black families is roughly half that sum.

Two-thirds of Americans are against cash payments to people whose ancestors were slaves, including most Whites, Asians and Latinos, according to the Pew Research Center. Black Americans overwhelmingly are for the move, and there is more support among younger people than their older counterparts.

Critics, particularly Republicans and conservatives, challenge the validity of reparations today. They point to a lack of specificity for what per-person payment would be appropriate, the criteria for calculating damages owed, how the money would be distributed, who or what entities should pay, and who would qualify as recipients.

Beyond that quandary, many also take issue with imposing on people several generations removed from slavery financial punishments for it.

Still, dozens of cities across the country and the state of California are now working to provide reparations to their Black residents.

Doing so wouldn’t be cheap. In California, a task force made recommendations to pay out more than $1.2 million per person. The total cost to the state, which never endorsed slavery but enabled racist redlining and housing discrimination practices, among other things, could rise to $800 billion — 22% of the state’s annual GDP.

Of note, Florida was the first state in the country to provide reparative payments to survivors of racial violence. In 1994, then-Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles signed a measure approving a $2.1 million payment to known survivors and descendants of the 1923 massacre in Rosewood, where a White mob murdered residents and destroyed a Black town in Levy County.

The measure allotted $150,000 to each of the nine known survivors, $500,000 to be split between their descendants and $4,000 in college scholarships for their youngest family members.

Some of the Rosewood recipients have cited the measure — which did not include the term “reparations” — as a potential model for further amends for descendants of enslaved people.

It’s been replicated since, though not for the purpose of slavery recompense. In June 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill by former Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy creating a scholarship for descendants of the 1920 massacre in Ocoee, a Central Florida city where White rioters slaughtered between 30 and 60 Black residents on Election Day.

As was the case with the Rosewood bill, Bracy’s measure included no mention of the word, “reparations.”

Bracy said the payments his bill cleared are indeed reparations and that he omitted the word only to appease his GOP colleagues who would have otherwise opposed it.


Editor’s note: This report has been updated with a comment from Ingoglia.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Michael K

    November 28, 2023 at 2:45 pm

    Disgusting excuse for a human being who fails to even engage in discussion of what, exactly, these terms might mean. These aren’t dog whistles – they are blaring sirens to stir up the racist MAGAs.

    • Julia

      November 28, 2023 at 2:49 pm

      Working on the web pays me more than $120 to $130 per hour. I learned about this activity three months ago, and since then I have earned around $15k without having any online working skills. To test it, copy the webpage below………………….

  • Julia

    November 28, 2023 at 2:48 pm

  • My Take

    November 28, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    Rosewood and Ocoee — White redneck Hamas

    • My Take

      November 28, 2023 at 3:04 pm

      All without doubt by Christian conservtives, fundamentalist Protestants.

  • Thomas Kaspar

    November 28, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    There is no debate on any reparations other that paying back the stores getting looted via a special hood tax .

    • rick whitaker

      November 28, 2023 at 8:18 pm


  • My Take

    November 28, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    The Republicans finally turn away from that antisemitism distraction and get back to central GOP business: antiblack conniving and hate.

  • Richard Russell

    November 28, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    Any human who doesn’t admit their ancestry originated in Africa is kidding themselves. The color of one’s skin is just a measure of how long it took your ancestors to leave the dark continent. So, yes, reparations are a joke as slavery is still alive and prospering in Africa and most other countries.

  • My Take

    November 28, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    I would pay for reparations, but not cash to decendent individuals. I would fund one generatiom (25 or 30 yèars) of intensive improvement in educational, including vocatiomal, opportunities. Attractive bonuses to draw the best teachers. Modern equipment. And no black student who qùalified for college would not go for lack of tuition and basic “keep.”
    And everyone told: This is it. This is your open door to the middle class or skilled tradesman ranks. Take care for your kids.

    • L.J.Ross

      December 4, 2023 at 3:06 pm

      I don’t need more education. $250,000 would equal the cost. Business funding is definitely appropriate.

  • MH/Duuuval

    December 8, 2023 at 9:08 pm

    The US already has — or had — a working program of reparations called Affirmative Action, which MAGAnauts have done everything possible to subvert. The generations since the 1960s that were able to avail themselves of AA — or an informal version — have remade our society.

Comments are closed.


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