SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A bill to remove slavery from Utah’s constitution has passed out of a House committee.
The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday afternoon to support Representative Sandra Hollins’ House Joint Resolution 8.
Following the decision, everyone in the committee room, including committee members, gave Representative Sandra Hollins, (D-Salt Lake City) a standing ovation. After the applause came the hugs.
“I am overwhelmed and I am grateful. I think those are the only two words to describe how I feel after that experience,” Hollins said smiling from ear to ear.
Article I, Section 21 currently reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within this State.”
HJR8 would amend Article I, Section 21 to read “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within this State.”
Hollins told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson that although the wording should be removed, she wants to make it clear that she supports prison reform.
“I think prison should be an opportunity for people to rehabilitate themselves. People should have the opportunity to work. It should be part of the rehabilitation system — work requirements and education so that we are able to send people back out in the community where they are able to function in the community on their own and be self-sufficient,” she explained.
Politicians, religious organizations, the NAACP Salt Lake Branch, Black Lives Matter, and community members all spoke at Tuesday’s hearing in favor of the bill.
HJR8 now goes to the House Floor. If it passes the legislature and is signed by Governor Gary Herbert, the constitutional amendment will go to the ballot for Utahns to vote on in the 2020 election.
.@SHollinsD23 is about to present her proposal to remove the word “slavery” from Utah’s constitution. @abc4utah broke the story in November 2018 that slavery as a form of punishment is still on the books. I’ll have a complete report tonight at 10. pic.twitter.com/lb95n03DBk— Brittany Johnson (@BJohnsonTV) February 5, 2019
.@SHollinsD23 played the original @abc4utah news report which led her to file a bill to remove the word “slavery” from Utah’s constitution. Her bill is being heard right now in the house judiciary. pic.twitter.com/HsubefGsxl— Brittany Johnson (@BJohnsonTV) February 5, 2019
Former chair of the @UtahGOP James Evans, @NAACP, Black Lives Matter SLC, Pastor France Davis and others all in attendance. Hear from them on @abc4utah news at 10. pic.twitter.com/qR1MwDeJ4i— Brittany Johnson (@BJohnsonTV) February 5, 2019
Representative Travis Segmiller (middle) says he usually doesn’t believe in amending the constitution but fully supports @SHollinsD23 and says the word slavery should be removed from Utah’s constitution. More on @abc4utah news at 10. pic.twitter.com/tI0GDzGnub— Brittany Johnson (@BJohnsonTV) February 5, 2019
Jeanetta Williams, President of the @NAACP Salt Lake Branch says removing slavery from Utah’s constitution is going to be a long haul but the organization is here for the battle. More on @abc4utah news at 10. pic.twitter.com/NX8333oeRX— Brittany Johnson (@BJohnsonTV) February 5, 2019
There’s no time for everyone to share their thoughts about removing the word “slavery” from Utah’s constitution. But everyone in support was asked to stand. Everyone in the room stood up. More on @abc4utah news at 10. pic.twitter.com/036Lx510Cg— Brittany Johnson (@BJohnsonTV) February 5, 2019
Rep. V. Lowry Snow says it’s time for the word “slavery” to be removed from not only Utah’s constitution but the US constitution as well. More on @abc4utah news at 10. pic.twitter.com/i3NVgL90aH— Brittany Johnson (@BJohnsonTV) February 5, 2019
.@SHollinsD23 says she overwhelmed with the amount of support today. She’s nothing but smiles right now. THE MOTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY and she received a standing ovation from the entire room. More on @abc4utah news at 10. pic.twitter.com/tmj6xEulWG— Brittany Johnson (@BJohnsonTV) February 5, 2019