BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – There is eight constitutional amendments who will appear in the Nov. 8 ballot in Louisiana.
This includes a fight a form of slavery which talks a lot.
Amendment 7 removes language from the state constitution that permits slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime, thereby prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude except to the extent that it can be legally enforced in the administration of criminal justice.
But because of those exceptions, the lawmaker who originally sponsored the proposal now wants people to vote no on the amendment.
The amendment is now up to voters to implement. But now the representative of the State of Jordan is interested in change.
“Hard to believe that in the 21st century some states, including Louisiana, have laws on the books that seemingly condone slavery. So Edmond Jordan tried to change that and there were 30 lawmakers with him who were at full throat over that, including three Republicans. And now Jordan has decided that the wording is such that he could actually do the opposite of what he wanted, and he’s asking people to vote against it,” said Jim Engster, WAFB political analyst and president of Louisiana. RadioNetwork.
In a statement to WAFB, State Rep. Jordan said, “The way the ballot language is spelled out is confusing. And the way it was written could lead to multiple different conclusions or opinions. Due to the ambiguity of the way it was written, I ask that people vote down, so we can go and clean it up with the intention of bringing it back next year and make sure the language is clear and unambiguous.
So he prefers people to vote no on the amendment, so lawmakers have a chance to start fresh next year.
“It’s a process that will take time and lawmakers might get frustrated with this exercise, and we’ll see what happens.” But it’s not a very good sign when the sponsor has to say, hey wait a minute, let’s not do this,” Engster said.
Engster says the devil is in the details. He says one sentence in the amendment, “Unless it can be legally enforced in the administration of criminal justice,” opens a Pandora’s box for a lot of things.
“The surface amendment abolishes slavery. Who wants slavery? Not in the 21st century, I don’t think anyone really wants slavery. But the amendment is such that it may, according to the sponsor, do the exact opposite of what it was intended,” Engster said.
There were also negative reactions from other people.
The Council for a Better Louisiana says, “This amendment is an example of why having the right language is so important when presenting constitutional amendments to voters.”
But people with Organization Victory Over Louisiana Violence continue to urge people to vote yes on amendment 7.
“We believe this is the cornerstone of the injustices that have occurred, and we believe this will be a first step in restoring people’s individual dignity. To remove the slavery exception clause is to remove the keystone of the injustices we face as a society today. After 2 years of hard work, we have pushed back 157 years in the hands of voters. We believe in letting people decide the future of our children, not just the chosen and selected,” said Laramie Griffin of Evolve Louisiana.
Louisiana is one of 5 states where slavery is on the ballot this Fall according to the Associated Press.
State Rep. Jordan said, “Whatever happens, we’ll have to bring it back to clean it up anyway.”
So it might end up on your ballot again next year, even if it passes in two weeks.
“But either way, I plan to bring it back next year and make sure the language is clearer and there’s no confusion,” Jordan said.
As for proposals ending prison labor in its entirety, that will likely still face massive opposition in the courts.
election day is Tuesday, November 8.
Learn more about the 8 amendments on the ballot Click here.
Three other measures (amendments) were approved for the December 10 election.
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