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Californians do not consider "involuntary slavery" amendments

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The Associated Press

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Don Thompson

Democratic State Sen. Sydney Kamlager calls on lawmakers to approve her measure to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ban involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, June 23, 2022. The bill failed to get enough votes for passage. California's Constitution bans both slavery and involuntary servitude, forcing someone to provide labor against their will, but there is an exception for the punishment of a crime.
Democratic State Senator Sydney Kamlager 2022 On Thursday, June 23, 2014, the Capitol in Sacramento, California, calls on lawmakers to approve her measures to amend the ballot to ban involuntary slavery as a punishment for crimes. The bill did not get enough votes to pass. .. The California Constitution prohibits both slavery and involuntary slavery, forcing someone to provide labor against their will, with the exception of criminal punishment. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP Communications

California Sacramento (AP) —California is not considered Governor Gavin Newsom's administration predicts that it could cost the state billions of dollars to pay the minimum wage to prison inmates, after which it puts into potential enslavement as a criminal punishment. Amend the Constitution to eliminate it.

Sydney Kamlager Democratic Senator runs out on Thursday and supporters need two-thirds after last week's ban on unpaid involuntary work He said he was seven votes below his margin. Senate.

She chose not to return to try it again after she said it was still lacking support before Congressman postponed it for a month's summer vacation on Thursday. I was surprised.

"One of the challenges we faced was historic, loaded, a remnant of slaves of the past, and reduced the humanity of people," Kamlager said in an interview. rice field.

She argued that her question about her policy could have been hashed later.

The financial impact feared by Newsom's Treasury was not a problem in the three states of Colorado, Nebraska and Utah, which had previously made similar changes, with Kamlager. Jamiria Land said. She is a spokeswoman for the California Abolitionist Union and coordinator of the National Network for Abolition of Slavery.

And voters in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont will consider a similar voting bill in November.

"Now that California leaders continue to worship slave labor practices in the state, it is a hypocrisy to step into the national stage as a paradise for progress," said the Associated State Warriors. The reform group, who supported the amendment, said in a statement.

Colorado Finance Analysts predicted that the measures passed in Colorado in 2018 would have a minimal impact on the budget. The amendments there included wording aimed at providing "legal work opportunities" to those convicted of crime while banning forced labor.

Kamurager added similar words to her proposal on Monday in an attempt to gain more support. Currently, California prisoners may face disciplinary action to refuse work. This may include reduced privileges such as visit restrictions, phone calls, and time-outs from the cell.

However, after the amendment was passed, a Colorado prisoner was accused of refusing to work.

State lawyers have asked Colorado voters to dismiss the proceedings, saying they did not intend to ban prison work programs. They argued that demanding labor from prisoners was part of their rehabilitation, but did not violate the amendment because it was not forced labor.

Similar to California, Colorado prisoners lose their privileges to watch TV, eat snacks, and shorten their sentences if they refuse to work. There is a possibility. However, state lawyers have not extended their sentences, claiming that basic needs such as food and shelter are still met.

Corrective authorities in the three states did not answer questions about how the states were affected when the law changed.

California Treasury officials have stated that, depending on the court's interpretation, it may be necessary to pay a minimum wage to more than 65,000 prisoners. Prisoners fight wildfires, create licenses, cook, clean, and do laundry for fellow prisoners.

The two law professors also said that the potential impact of California's proposal was probably unknown until the legal issue was resolved.

The state "will not be considered an involuntary slave because the prisoners need to be paid enough," said Dean Erwin Kemerinsky, a law school at the University of California, Berkeley. Stated. "But whether it requires a minimum wage will be a matter of litigation unless amendments to this are clear."

Loyola Low School Equity and Inclusion Kathleen Kim, Vice Dean, upheld the proposed amendment and said prisoners could seek payment or compensation for psychological harm or forced labor if measures were enacted.

"I'm expecting a suspension of forced labor practices in prisons," Kim said. But that probably wouldn't bring about a flood of proceedings, she said, because she predicted that managers would have to comply with constitutional amendments to their rules.

Kim said that even programs that are considered voluntary can be considered forced labor. Prisoners may feel that they cannot quit freely. She said the proceedings against private prison operators were settled in favor of detainees of immigrants who were forced to work and were not paid fairly.

An earlier version of California's proposal cleared the parliament of 80 members in March with a bipartisan 59-0 vote, although 17 members withheld voting.

The country's first task force on compensation for blacks in California upheld the constitutional amendment in a report recommending "fair market prices" for prison labor, with prisoners and inmates with which program. Be able to decide whether to work.

In another Senate-approved bill awaiting congressional review, state orthodontic authorities raise indemnity to a level where prisoners can purchase care packages and materials and stay connected to their families. You need to adopt a five-year plan.


Los Angeles Associated Press author Brian Melley and Denver's Colleen Slevin contributed to this report.

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