LOUISIANA (KLFY) – Louisiana will vote on eight constitutional amendments including one about a form of slavery. Amendment number 7 removes language in the state constitution, that allows slavery and involuntary servitude, as punishment for a crime but there are some exceptions.
And because of that, the lawmaker who originally sponsored the proposal, wants you to vote no on the amendment.
House bill 298 by State Representative Edmond Jordan, easily made its way through the state capitol during the legislative session.
It eliminates an exception in Louisiana’s constitution, allowing slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime.
It’s up to voters to put it into action but now Jordan is crawfishing on the change.
Jim Engster, political analyst, said, “Jordan has decided that the wording is such that it may actually do the opposite of what he intended, and he’s asking people to vote against it.”
In a statement state rep. Jordan said, “The way that the ballot language is stated it is confusing. And the way that it was drafted it could lead to multiple different conclusions or opinions.”
So he’d rather you vote no on the amendment, so lawmakers have a chance to start over next year.
Engster said, “It’s not a very good sign when the sponsor has to say, hey wait a minute, let’s not do this.”
Political analyst Jim Engster said the devil is in the details.
He said one phrase, “Except as it may be applied lawfully in the administration of criminal justice,” opens up a pandora’s box to a lot of things.
Engster said, “The amendment is such that it may according to the sponsor, do exactly the opposite of what it was intended.”
There’s been some push back from others as well.
The council for a better Louisiana said, “This amendment is an example of why it is so important to get the language right when presenting constitutional amendments to voters.”
But the victory over Louisiana violence organization is urging people to still vote yes on amendment 7.
Laramie Griffin, from Evolve Louisiana, said “We believe that this is the cornerstone to the injustices that happened. We believe this is a first step into getting people back their individual dignity.”
Louisiana is one of five states where slavery is on the ballot this fall.
State Representative Jordan said, “Regardless of what happens, we’re going to have to bring it back to get it cleared up either way.”
So this could end up being on your ballot again next year, even if it passes in 2 weeks.
When it comes to proposals ending prison labor in its entirety that will likely still face massive opposition in the courts.