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Amendment A: Everything you need to know about the 2018 Colorado ballot question

Amendment A has to do with the language surrounding slavery in the Colorado constitution.

Type: Change in state constitution. 50 percent required for passage because it is removing language, not adding it.

The issue: Should outdated language legalizing slavery as a form of criminal punishment be removed from the state constitution?

This one’s a repeat from 2016, when a citizen-led initiative attempted to delete the language and failed. The offending phrase says slavery is prohibited in Colorado, “except as a punishment for crime.” Supporters see this is an obvious fix. If the amendment passes, it would essentially read: slavery is prohibited. Full stop.

But the 2016 effort raised concerns that it could inadvertently make prison work programs unconstitutional. State lawmakers sought to address this by declaring in a resolution that the purpose was not to outlaw existing work opportunities for inmates.

The ramifications: Slavery is, of course, already illegal in the United States, so this one’s designed to be largely symbolic. But someone may try to test prison work programs in court if the language is removed.

For more: Read the referred measure and ballot analysis.

— Brian Eason, Special to The Colorado Sun 

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