Bill would let Virginia cities remove Confederate monuments

FILE-In this Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 file photo, a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee sits in Emancipation Park, in Charlottesville, Va. The deadly rally by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Aug. 12, 2017, is accelerating the removal of Confederate statues in cities across the nation. (AP Photo/Julia Rendleman, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WRIC) –- Virginia cities would have the authority to remove or alter Confederate monuments under a proposal from a top Democratic state lawmaker.

House Minority Leader David Toscano filed a bill this week that he said aims to clarify what’s allowed now under a law designed to protect war memorials.

Related: Confederate monument supporters, opponents rally in Va. Beach

The long-simmering debate about what to do with symbols of the Confederacy was renewed this summer after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, which is part of Toscano’s district. The rally was held in part to protest the liberal city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Virginia, where much of the Civil War was fought, is dotted with monuments and other tributes to the Confederacy.

Republicans expressed doubt Thursday about the measure’s chances of passage.

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