On your ballot: Utahns voting on removing reference to slavery from state constitution

Election

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.

RELATED: Get latest results of the 2020 General Election here

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 back in 2018. She brought it to the attention of Representative Sandra Hollins, and Hollins teamed up 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HJR8 was passed by a unanimous vote of both the Utah House and the Utah Senate and would remove an outdated provision in Article 1, Section 21 of the Utah Constitution, that allowed for slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime.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.

The Utah Republican Party says, “HJR 8 was passed by a unanimous vote of both the Utah House and the Utah Senate and would remove an outdated provision in Article 1, Section 21 of the Utah Constitution, that allowed for slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime.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 says, “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 expanded on that saying, ​”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 concurred, “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.”

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