Amendment to remove slavery mention from state constitution could go before voters in November

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An amendment to remove references to slavery and involuntary servitude from the Minnesota Constitution could go before voters in the 2020 general election.

According to a release from the Minnesota House of Representatives and Minnesota Senate, lawmakers and St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell launched the effort for a constitutional amendment at the Capitol Thursday.

Currently, Article I, Section 2, of the Minnesota Constitution says, "There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the state otherwise than as punishment for a crime of which the party has been convicted."

There are currently two bills in the legislature, HF 3008 in the House and SF 2924 in the Senate, that would propose an amendment to the state’s constitution.

St. Paul police chief makes resolution to remove slavery clause in Minnesota Constitution

Both pieces of legislation would amend Article I, Section 2, to read, "No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the state."

If passed by both the House and Senate, the question for a constitutional amendment would go before voters in November.

The move comes after Axtell posted to social media on New Year’s Eve saying he would spend 2020 working to remove language about slavery from the Minnesota Constitution.

"As a Minnesotan, at the start of the 2020s, it is my belief that it is time – beyond time – to move forward together and strike out slavery from our shared constitution," he said in the post.