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Virginia lawmakers debate eugenics compensation

Feb. 18, 2014 at 3:20 PM

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Virginia lawmakers are debating possible compensation for people the state sterilized involuntarily during a more than 50-year period.

Lawmakers in the Virginia House voted two weeks ago to delay action for one year on a plan to pay $50,000 each to victims who come forward with proof they were part of the now discredited eugenics plan, which sought to strengthen the human gene pool by weeding out those regarded as defective from the 1920s to the 1970s.

The House's 2014-16 budget includes a scaled-down version of the compensation plan, offering $25,000 to $500,000 to victims, the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.

It is estimated there are some 8,000 people who were sterilized by the state, the Roanoke (Va.) Times has reported.

Lawmakers said the matter remains up for debate with some arguing $50,000 figure is a more appropriate.

The state Senate's budget draft does not include any money for eugenics compensation, meaning if it passes the House it would need to be resolved in conference.

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