US lawmakers unveil anti-slavery constitutional amendment

The move would expressly prohibit the use of involuntary servitude as a punishment for crime.

Posted: Dec 2, 2020 11:10 AM
Updated: Dec 2, 2020 12:35 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats in the House and Senate are to introduce a joint resolution Wednesday aimed at amending the 13th Amendment’s ban on chattel enslavement.

The move would expressly prohibit the use of involuntary servitude as a punishment for crime. The original amendment has permitted exploitation of labor by convicted felons for over 155 years since the abolition of slavery.

Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon tells The Associated Press that the 13th Amendment is in part responsible for the historic mistreatment of Black Americans through the nation's penal systems.

“America was founded on beautiful principles of equality and justice and horrific realities of slavery and white supremacy, and if we are ever going to fully deliver on the principles we have to directly confront the realities,” said Senator Merkley. “The exception to the 13th Amendment’s ban on slavery corrupted criminal justice into a tool of racist control of Black Americans and other people of color, and we see that legacy every day in police encounters, courtrooms, and prisons throughout our country. Slavery is incompatible with justice. No slavery, no exceptions.”

Constitutional amendments are rare, and require approval by two-thirds of the House and Senate, as well as ratification by three-quarters of state legislatures.

“This change is long overdue. The punishment clause in the 13th amendment is a legacy of slavery that has allowed people incarcerated, disproportionately Black and brown, to be exploited for decades. It is long past time that Congress excise this language from the US Constitution which should begin to put an end the abusive practices derived from it,” said Laura Pitter, Deputy Director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 207333

Reported Deaths: 2759
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40422614
Washington26826249
Marion23473324
Clackamas18967235
Lane13934165
Jackson11566146
Deschutes1004182
Umatilla861687
Linn563681
Yamhill478979
Klamath477878
Polk401356
Douglas390683
Josephine362372
Malheur362163
Benton327322
Jefferson237539
Coos217537
Columbia192629
Union150224
Wasco145530
Lincoln143721
Crook129423
Hood River121833
Morrow115716
Clatsop10609
Baker103015
Curry72511
Tillamook6604
Grant5527
Lake4688
Harney4359
Wallowa1945
Gilliam811
Sherman701
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3811723

Reported Deaths: 63424
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124816124461
Riverside3017994627
San Bernardino2993724873
San Diego2819363777
Orange2731285114
Santa Clara1201942193
Kern1108471405
Sacramento1079131737
Fresno1029961724
Alameda898191280
Ventura817271032
San Joaquin748081440
Contra Costa70818813
Stanislaus635581070
Tulare49808850
Monterey43842432
San Mateo42725581
San Francisco37287556
Santa Barbara34624455
Solano33797267
Merced32317481
Sonoma30974317
Imperial28880741
Placer23633300
Kings23209247
San Luis Obispo21448261
Madera16652245
Santa Cruz16246209
Marin14207230
Yolo14157212
Butte12662198
Shasta12616235
El Dorado10415117
Napa1002980
Sutter9672113
Yuba651951
San Benito611163
Lassen579925
Tehama573963
Nevada493275
Humboldt451449
Mendocino435150
Tuolumne421971
Amador374347
Lake356445
Glenn243527
Siskiyou239837
Colusa228818
Calaveras220956
Del Norte14658
Inyo143438
Mono12984
Plumas7376
Modoc5635
Mariposa4657
Trinity4246
Sierra1170
Alpine890
Unassigned340
Medford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 78°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 78°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 78°
Klamath Falls
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 60°
Dangerous heat wave through the weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events