Bill seeking to protect Civil War monuments sent to governor

(WAVY/Walter Hildebrand)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers have passed legislation designed to prevent localities frommoving Civil War monuments.

The Daily Press reports that the measure passed the Senate this week on a 21-17 vote. Gov. Terry McAuliffe has not said whether he supports the bill.

A law passed in 1998 forbids local governments from removing or damaging war monuments.

But Republican Del. Charles Poindexter, the bill’s sponsor, said a judge in a recent court case regarding the removal of the Confederate flag said the law protects only monuments raised since 1998.

Republican Sen. Thomas Garrett, who supported the bill, said removing monuments is “censoring” state history.

Democratic Sen. Mamie Lock, chairwoman of the legislative black caucus, said after the vote that the state shouldn’t tell localities “how to remember the past.”

Last year, The United Front for Justice protested in Norfolk because they felt a civil war monument downtown should be moved. In Portsmouth, a city councilman asked to have the the city’s Confederate monument removed from downtown, calling it a symbol of racism that shouldn’t be displayed in a public space.

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