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Counter Points is written by WVXU Senior Political Analyst Howard Wilkinson. In it, he shares insights on political news on the local, state and national level that impacts the 2020 election. Counter Points is delivered once a week on Wednesdays and will cease publication soon after the November election is decided.

Ohio Lawmaker Says Clause Allowing Slavery Needs To Be Removed From State Constitution

Ohio’s constitution bans slavery except for one reason. And at least one Black lawmaker wants that exception stripped from the state’s governing document.

Democratic Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) says the clause that allows slavery as the punishment for a crime needs to be removed from the state constitution.

When the Ohio Constitution was ratified in 1851, it contained this clause: “There shall be no slavery in this state; nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crime.”

Thomas says there is no excuse for that language in this day and age.

“What legitimate reason would you have that exception for unless you planned to use it for Ohio’s future history?," Thomas asks.

Thomas says lawmakers would have to put the change before voters. But he says that should happen sooner rather than later. The Senate is planning to meet monthly, but the House isn't scheduled to come back till September.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.