House Bill Would Protect Civil War Monuments From Opposition

first_img0:51 | Play story Add to My ListIn My List For Whom The Bell Rings The state House could soon take up a bill that would ban the removal of Georgia monuments, protecting them from any future opposition.Under H.B. 50, a “monument” would broadly apply to any “plaque, statue, marker, flag, banner, structure name, display and memorial” honoring military service or a civilian past, present and future. Included are those monuments honoring the Confederacy and other controversial historical figures that some citizens could find offensive.  “History is history. We can’t change history from what someone considers to be bad or good history,” bill sponsor Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, says. “If they’re going to move them – and we’re not saying they can’t move them – we’re just saying we want it put in a like position of prominence.”As heard on the radio0:51Benton was against the governor’s decision last year to move the statue of Tom Watson, a populist politician turned white supremacist, from Capitol grounds to a location across the street. He says this bill isn’t a response to that decision or any goings on in his district, pointing to the fact that Jefferson erected a monument to the Confederacy in its downtown area in recent years.Rather, Benton says his concerns of historical scrubbing lie “here in Atlanta, for one, with the expansion the way it is, monuments or memorials can be moved.”The ban on removing monuments would extend to local governments, including boards of education and the state university system – even if the constituency wants them gone.Catherine Fleming, a lobbyist for the Georgia Municipal Association, says the bill is an overreach.“In terms of monuments owned by our cities, we think those decisions should really be made by city officials and not the state,” Fleming says.The bill is currently sitting in the House Rules Committee. It will have to clear the full House by next week to survive this session. Related Stories Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility Share ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Partylast_img

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