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State Politicans Hope To Remove Slavery References From Ohio Constitution

Photo by John and Melanie Kotsopoulos via Flickr.

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus has introduced a bill to remove references to slavery from the state constitution, a move caucus members say will make the constitution more inclusive.

The sole reference to slavery in the constitution says it and indentured servitude are illegal "unless for the punishment of crime.”

State Rep. Alicia Reece, the President of the OLBC, said removing this exemption is mainly intended to regulate prison labor, although she said it could also apply to human trafficking.

“Whether you’re in the prison system doing your time, or whether you’re out and being attacked for human trafficking, we believe that slavery, we should have a clear message in Ohio that slavery is not allowed,” Reece said.

If the bill is passed by the Ohio House and Senate, it will then go to a ballot before Ohio voters. In Colorado, voters will decide this fall whether to remove similar language from their constitution.