SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A resolution to remove the word “slavery” from Utah’s constitution takes another step forward.
HJR8 passed unanimously out of Senate committee Monday morning.
Article I, Section 21 of Utah’s constitution 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.”
Representative Sandra Hollins, (D) Salt Lake City is the sponsor for the resolution.
Following concerns about how HJR8 would impact the criminal justice system, Hollins presented a substitution to the resolution.
“The concern was that it was going to disrupt the ability to be able to work inside the prison system. As I said, I feel like working should be part of the rehabilitation. There were also concerns that it was going to disrupt the court system and whether community service and judges being able to implement community services,” explained Hollins.
“Instead of having a system that demoralizes and takes away human dignity, we need to have education, we need to have trades that are taught and we need to have an interaction on mental health as well as every emotional instability that prisoners face,” said Scott Howell, Chair of the Pioneer Park Coalition, who was also on hand to lend his support to the resolution.
Howell said looking at the issue from a business standpoint, the slavery verbiage needs to be removed as quickly as possible.
“How can we ever tell the world to come here with their software and their professional sports teams and have that in our constitution?” he asked rhetorically.
So from a pure business standpoint, we need to fix it and fix it right.
The resolution now heads to the Senate floor for debate.