March 5, 2021

Alabama lawmakers delay repeal of Confederate monument protection law

Alabama lawmakers on Wednesday delayed action on a proposal to repeal protections for Confederate monuments and instead let cities give the statues to the state archives or another entity for preservation.

The House Judiciary Committee sent the bill to a subcommittee for study. It is unclear when the bill would return for a vote.

The bill by Democratic Rep. Juandalynn Givan of Birmingham would repeal the 2017 Alabama Memorial Preservation Act which forbids taking down longstanding monuments. Givan said her proposal would allow local governments to donate unwanted historic statues and monuments to the state archives or another entity for preservation.

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 opted to take down Confederate monuments and just pay the $25,000 fine.

“People want to have the authority to move these monuments without being taxed $25,000,” Givan said after the meeting.

Democratic Rep. Merika Coleman of Pleasant Grove said Givan’s bill would put the monuments in a “spot where they actually could be preserved and not destroyed.”

A Republican lawmaker is seeking to strengthen the law and increase the penalty on violators.

Rep. Mike Holmes of Wetumpka filed a bill that would increase the fine from a flat $25,000 to $10,000 a day.