RICHMOND – A bipartisan proposal to compensate Virginians who were involuntarily sterilized during the eugenics era is going nowhere, sidelined by its potential price tag.
The measure (HB1529), introduced by Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William County, and co-sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington County, would have authorized $50,000 payments to surviving victims of a decades-long state policy aimed at weeding out so-called “defective” members of society.
More than 7,000 people were sterilized under the policy from 1924 to 1979. No one knows how many are still alive, but a staff analysis estimated that the proposed payments could total as much as $73 million.
The bill was sent to the budget-writing Appropriations Committee and has not been acted on. The committee has no more meetings scheduled before tonight’s deadline for House action on House bills.
-Bill Sizemore, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot