Repeal of Nebraska slavery amendment advances in Legislature

LINCOLN, NE (Associated Press) – Nebraska is one step closer to repealing a state constitutional amendment that allows people to be enslaved as punishment for a crime.

Lawmakers advanced the proposed repeal Thursday on a 44 to zero vote.

Two additional votes are required to place it on the 20-20 general election ballot.

The state constitution banned slavery and involuntary servitude since the 18 hundreds, except as punishment for a crime. Supporters say that provision hasn’t been used in recent history but was once invoked to force former slaves back into unpaid labor for private parties.

The measure’s sponsor, Senator Justin Wayne of Omaha, says the amendment sends an important message about Nebraska’s values.