Local/State

Major blow to eugenics compensation plan

Thursday, June 14, 2012

There's been a major blow to victims of the state's eugenics program, who had reason to expect compensation this summer. It now looks like that may not happen.

"I think it's a shameful, shameful day," said Rep. Alma Adams, (D) Guilford County. "We talk the talk. We don't walk the walk."

Adams, like so many others in the State House, thought the state was going to compensate living victims of North Carolina's Eugenics Program. Members of the House put up a bill that would give victims $50,000 each. It also put $11 million in their budget to pay for it.

However, that all came crashing down in the State Senate Wednesday.

"What happened is the Democrats tied eugenics to a tax increase," said President Pro-tem Sen. Phil Berger.

Berger said many Republicans in his chamber don't support the payout and the $11 million wasn't included in their budget. So Democrat Clark Jenkins, of Edgecombe County, tagged it on to an amendment, which failed.  

"Once a measure is a defeated measure in the Senate, it's not eligible for consideration at a later date," said Berger.

"My understanding is it was not in the House budget," said Jenkins. "I was trying to bring some attention to it on the Senate side and so, I failed. The leadership did not want it in there."

Lawmakers said it may still be possible to get it done. But now, however, it's a much longer road.

"The maneuver the Ds attempted on the floor makes it much less likely it occurs," said Berger.

"Hopefully, we can resurrect it in the original form and that we will go on through this process and do what's right because it's right," said Adams.

Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis has been advocate of eugenics compensation. He put out a statement Thursday saying he's confident they can find a way to make it happen.

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