BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A bid to abolish involuntary servitude as criminal punishment in Louisiana has failed in its first legislative hearing.
Republican lawmakers rejected the proposal Tuesday despite arguments that the constitutional language allows a form of slavery in prisons.
The House civil law committee voted to stall the proposed constitutional change by Democratic Rep. Edmond Jordan and keep it from reaching the full House for debate.
Nine Republicans voted against the measure. Five Democrats supported it. Jordan said the language in Louisiana’s constitution stems from the state’s history of slavery and segregation.
Republicans suggested Jordan’s proposal could lead to widespread efforts to overturn felony convictions that involve sentences to hard labor.