Bills aim to repeal Alabama's historic monuments law

Bills aim to repeal Alabama's historic monuments law

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An Alabama legislator has pre-filed two bills to repeal and replace a recently enacted state law that makes it difficult if not impossible for local municipalities to remove monuments that are more than 40 years old.

Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Jefferson County, pre-filed HB 15 and HB 16 in the Alabama House, with each allowing for a vote by Alabamians.

A third bill is possible, according to Givan, that would allow Class 1 municipalities the ability to have a vote of the people in a referendum of their city council or county commission "for the removal of [c]onfederate monuments so situated in their local governing areas."

Givan's bills come amid heightened tensions in many states, including Alabama, with growing calls to remove Confederate monuments following the weekend events in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one woman dead and others injured after a man crashed his vehicle into a crowd at a controversial rally of white supremacists.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell has erected a plywood structure around a Confederate monument in a city park, a move that prompted a lawsuit from the state's attorney general.

The controversial Alabama Memorial Preservation Act passed in the waning hours of the 2017 regular legislative session and was later signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey.

The law protects any historic monuments, markers, or street signs that are more than 40 years old, which would effectively cover every Confederate monument in the state.

Opponents of the bill say it aims to protect the state's Confederate monuments, while the law's  sponsor, Sen. Gerald Allen, said it aims at protecting all of Alabama's history, both good and bad.

It's not clear how much success Givan's bills would see in the House, where the law she's working to repeal passed by a margin of 68-29.

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