AUSTIN (KXAN) — Advocates gathered Wednesday morning in support of two bills that would abolish slavery in the state.
That’s because under current state law and the 13th amendment, slavery is still legally allowed as punishment for a crime.
The Abolition Bill, or House Joint Resolution 51 and Senate Joint Resolution 66, seeks to remove that exception.
Wednesday’s event was organized in part by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery – Texas (CAST).
They’re calling on state lawmakers to pass these bills out of committee before the legislative session ends on May 31.
“There are one in two people who knows someone who’s been incarcerated. So this affects everyone — Black, brown, white — everybody,” said Savannah Eldrige, cofounder of CAST.
If these bills pass, voters must then approve an amendment to the Texas Constitution.
The rally took place at the Texas African American History Memorial on capitol grounds in downtown Austin. Organizations Grassroots Leadership and Texas Advocates for Justice were also in attendance.