State Representative Dar’shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia) introduced five bills that are aimed at increasing “Black wealth.” The bills propose racial compositions on Georgia corporations receiving state tax credits; reinstatement of the “Angel Investor” tax credit and qualifying historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) as eligible; tax credits for HBCU entrepreneurship programs; racially diversify all boards, commissions, councils, or committees to reflect the state’s demographics; and annual reports on wealth within certain demographics.
In a press release, Kendrick claimed that Black communities are systemically marginalized within the economy. She added that the pandemic has only compounded the matter.
In an interview with The Georgia Star News, Kendrick explained that these bills are a culmination of her work as a representative. Kendrick has served in the Georgia House for about a decade.
“It’s something that I’m passionate about personally, and what I do professionally as a corporate attorney,” stated Kendrick. “As you can see, it’s just a start, just a blip in trying to resolve our racial inequities here in Georgia – especially racial inequality on the economic side. Many of my colleagues have focused on criminal justice reform, but I believe strongly that you have to have an equal track for economic justice as well to make an impact, to create and pass along generational wealth.”
House Bill 30 would require the Georgia Department of Revenue to establish racial composition reports on Georgia corporations receiving state tax credits. Kendrick explained that the bill would ensure corporations aren’t just getting state benefits without appropriately serving the community.
“Georgia is always being touted as the number-one place to do business,” stated Kendrick. “We want to make sure they’re doing business right, that they’re impacting the 30 percent of the population that’s African American. From tax credit accountability to making sure their workforce is diverse.”
Another bill proposed that the state should gather and publish data on wealth from a demographic perspective. Kendrick noted that the measure would provide transparency to Georgians on the state’s economic health in comparison to the rest of the nation. The representative added that the data is present on a federal level, but hasn’t been made easily accessible or specific to their state.
“[That information] needs to be prominent, easy to read, and very Georgia-specific so that corporations have that data and Georgians have that data going forward,” stated Kendrick. “It’s important to know the economic status of all demographics in Georgia.”
In addition to her proposed “Black wealth” legislation, Kendrick also proposed a bill to remove qualified immunity for law enforcement officers that engaged in negligent or dangerous behaviors. The representative told The Star News that the bill would also ensure that counties and municipalities have at least $500 in liability insurance set aside for each of their officers, so that victims of misconduct could recover the money issued from a judgment.
Additionally, Kendrick proposed two resolutions. One would have the state support a federal reparations study committee for African Americans. The other would encourage the removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.
“Obviously my black wealth agenda is a package deal,” stated Kendrick. “I look forward to being able to circle in on why each one of these packages is so important by sharing the data behind them.”
Last year, the representative gained national attention after she protested a “fetal heartbeat” bill limiting when women could obtain an abortion by proposing a bill regulating when and how men could obtain Viagra, imposing a 24-hour waiting period on pornographic or sex-related items, banning vasectomies, and classifying unprotected sex as aggravated assault. The abortion regulation bill was struck down as “unconstitutional” by a federal judge last summer.
Kendrick is scheduled to discuss the series of “Black wealth” legislation via a virtual press conference on January 26 at 9 a.m. EST. Participation requires advance registration.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Georgia Capital” by andre m. CC BY-SA 3.0.