Plan to remove slavery from Utah Constitution clears hurdle

FILE - This Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, photo, shows the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A panel of Utah lawmakers has unanimously approved removing a provision in the state constitution that allows slavery as punishment for a crime.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports the Tuesday vote came after religious leaders, activists and others spoke up to say slavery doesn’t belong anywhere in state documents.

Democratic Rep. Sandra Hollins says the loophole taken from the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was aimed at addressing a potential labor shortage, but it’s now far out of date.

Her bill now moves to the House floor. If it clears the full Legislature by a two-thirds majority, it will appear on the ballot next year.

Other states like Oregon and Nevada have similar provisions. Colorado removed the language from their constitution last year.

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