Wray appointed to eugenics study committee

Raleigh — Rep. Michael Wray has been appointed by House Speaker Joe Hackney to a select study committee that will examine a proposal to compensate people sterilized by the state.

The House Select Committee on Compensation for the Victims of the Eugenics Sterilization Program will look at a proposed process for evaluating claims and an equitable amount of compensation for those who were sterilized and estimate the cost of providing health care, counseling and educational assistance already required under the state’s eugenics sterilization program.

“I am pleased to be appointed to the House Select Committee on Compensation for Victims of the Eugenics Sterilization Program,” Rep. Wray said. “The eugenics program wrongly intruded into the lives of people who were unable to protect themselves from the power of government. We can never completely compensate them for what they suffered, but we must look at doing as much as we can to help make their lives better now.”

Rep. Ronnie Sutton and Rep. Larry Womble will co-chair the committee and will set its meeting dates. The committee is expected to issue a final report, including proposed legislation, by the end of the year.

The state’s eugenics program operated between 1929 and 1977. The program was used to sterilize people who were considered mentally ill or otherwise inferior. For more information about the program, visit the State Library of North Carolina Web site “Eugenics in North Carolina”.

Rep. Wray is a Democrat in his second term representing Northampton, Vance and Warren counties. He is chairman of the Education Subcommittee on Community Colleges and vice chairman of the Wildlife Resources Committee.