SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A polarized political climate is what most people seem to perceive but there are times when everyone helps each other. In Utah, Democrats and Republicans have worked together to amend the Utah constitution, putting on the ballot the elimination of a provision regarding slavery and involuntary servitude.
Currently in the Utah Constitution in Article 1, Section 21 it says: “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 will change it to say: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within this State.”
The fact the clause was still in Utah’s constitution was brought to light by a report from ABC4’s Brittany Johnson. She brought it to the attention of Representative Sandra Hollins, and from that point forward teamed with Utah Senator Jake Anderegg to get Amendment C to change and eliminate the provision on the ballot.
HJR8 was passed by a unanimous vote of both the Utah House and the Utah Senate and would remove an outdated provision in Article 1, Section 21 of the Utah Constitution, that allowed for slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime.
Now HJR8 is taking form as Amendment C on your 2020 Utah Ballot.
In a release sent from the Utah Republican Party, it says “HJR 8 was passed by a unanimous vote of both the Utah House and the Utah Senate and would remove an outdated provision in Article 1, Section 21 of the Utah Constitution, that allowed for slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime. We were pleased to see this resolution sponsored by a Democrat in the House, Representative Sandra Hollins, and also by a Republican in the Senate, Senator Jake Anderegg. The resolution will now be placed on the November ballot, and requires a majority vote by Utahns for the constitutional change to go into effect.”
Rep. Sandra Hollins said, “This is not about being a Republican, or a Democrat, this is about being human. We knew this had to be a bipartisan effort. I appreciate all of the work Senator Anderegg did to assure this was going to pass.”
Senator Anderegg said, ”I was surprised to discover that this provision was still in the Utah State Constitution. I was honored to work with Rep. Sandra Hollins to help it pass, which it did unanimously in both the Senate and the House. Removing this outdated provision sends a strong, bipartisan statement about our values as citizens of Utah, and I encourage all Republicans everywhere to vote for the passage of Amendment C.”
Utah Democratic Party Chair, Jeff Merchant said, “It is of course long past due for this change to be made to Utah law. The Utah Democratic Party is profoundly grateful for the hard work of Representative Sandra Hollins who lead the way to make what should be a simple change to Utah law a reality. As a state, we have a long way to go, but we are thankful that the people will have the chance in November to make this constitutional change, and urge everyone to support it.
The release quotes Derek Brown Chairman of the Utah Republican Party “It is always refreshing when Utahns from both major political parties can work together on an issue, creating a result that has not only bi-partisan support but unanimous support. The Utah Republican Party joins our Utah Legislature in calling on voters throughout the state of Utah to support the passage of Amendment C in this November’s general election.”