A state House panel made the recommendation Thursday. It determined North Carolina should provide payment to victims of the state's forced sterilization program.
Lawmakers said N.C. should give $20,000 to more than 7,000 victims of the program, who were sterilized between 1929 and 1975. The victims were considered to be mentally handicapped or genetically inferior.
Most of those affected in the 1960s were poor, black women.
North Carolina's program was the third largest in the nation, behind those in California and Virginia.
If the recommendation is adopted by the General Assembly, researchers say North Carolina would be the first state to offer compensation for a practice once considered a solution to rid society of mental illness.