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Eugenics Compensation Bill Passes NC House

The North Carolina House has passed a measure to compensate living victims of the state's forced-sterilization program. Lawmakers have proposed a $50,000 lump sum for each living victim of the North Carolina Eugenics Board. During debate on the measure Tuesday afternoon, several dozen members of the state house tried unsuccessfully to lower compensation to $20,000, saying the budget can't take a larger hit. Not so, said Republican Representative Carolyn Justice. "We all know that this should have been done in a year when we were flush with money and that we're not flush with money and this is a bad time to be spending $50,000 on each victim," said Justice. "We also know there's a time you just have to do what's right. And this is one of those times." The compensation measure passed by a vote of 86 to 31. Its total price tag for next year would be $11 million. As many as 2,000 eugenics victims may still be living, but so far, fewer than 200 have come forward. If the measure is approved by the State Senate, North Carolina would be the first state to compensate eugenics victims.