A bill to compensate victims of North Carolina’s Eugenics Program – or forced sterilization -- passed the state House last year but failed to come up for a vote in the Senate. The effort made national news because North Carolina was the first state to consider restitution. In this new legislative session in Raleigh, Representative Susi Hamilton says she’s committed to helping House Speaker Thom Tillis address the damage.
As a primary sponsor of a bill that would pay victims $50,000 each, Representative Hamilton says the content of this legislation isn’t very different from the failed bill of the last session. But the process – and the broad bi-partisan support -- gives her confidence that it will get passed.
“People recognize that this was a state-mandated thing. And as a result of it being state-mandated, it’s incumbent on the state to rectify that. And to at least do the best that we know how to do in order to compensate the victims for this terrible part of our history.”
The amount of money could change as the bill makes its way through the legislature, says Hamilton. But since no amount of money can adequately compensate victims, it’s the act of restitution from the state that is critical. Hamilton says the bill could be heard as early as late March.