MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a bill that would give cities and counties a possible avenue to take down unwanted Confederate monuments and relocate them elsewhere for preservation.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 6 to 4 to reject the legislation that would make revisions to the 2017 Memorial Preservation Act. In recent years, cities and protesters have sought to take down many such monuments amid a national reckoning about Confederate symbols more than a century and a half after the Civil War ended slavery.
The legislation by Democratic Rep. Juandalynn Givan of Birmingham had called for allowing cities and counties to request permission from a state committee to move the monuments to another location, such as a local park or state agency land, for preservation. The local governments would have to pay for the relocation.
Givan reports she was not surprised by the vote, and plans to reintroduce the legislation in the future. She said she believed opposition to the bill was rooted in racism.
“We are in the state of Alabama and there is still much to be done with regards to the issues of the Confederacy and the beliefs of those individuals who believe in the Confederate monuments, in the Confederate flag.”
Givan also said after the bill’s rejection: “Dr. Maya Angelou once said, ’When people show you who they are, believe them.′ They have shown who they are.”
The 2017 law, which was approved as some cities began taking down Confederate monuments, forbids the removal or alteration of monuments more than 40 years old. Violations carry a $25,000 fine.
Some cities have just opted to take down Confederate monuments and pay the $25,000 fine.