Bill in consideration to fine violators $10K daily after a monument is moved

Updated: Feb. 1, 2021 at 10:26 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Starting February 2, lawmakers are back at work for you.

Two of the bills being introduced this legislative session in Montgomery are aimed at the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. One of them is intended to strengthen it, the other essentially to strip it away.

“There was too many monuments being destroyed, too much crime, too much unrest being caused because the law was not strict enough,” Rep. Mike Holmes said.

The multiple illegal moves of Confederate statues in Alabama last year prompted Rep. Holmes to look into how he could make the current law more effective.

According to Holmes, raising the penalty until the monument is moved back is the best way.

Under his bill, elected officials and institutions such as universities would have to pay $10,000 for every day a monument is moved, until it is put back.

“They have huge foundations, trust funds they can work from. They’re so big they don’t even bat an eye over $25,000.”

Rep. Holmes says the majority of Alabamians are in support of this bill.

“Our people, our voters are strongly in favor of doing this to strengthen it so we can stop this mayhem,” he said.

But David Person, with the Rosa Parks Day Committee is not in that group.

“It seems to me like communities ought to be given the right to remove a monument or change a street name or a school name as they see fit,” Person said.

He’s in favor of Representative’s Lee Givan’s bill instead.

This bill would allow a county or city to move a monument and transfer the ownership to the Department of Archives and History.

“These statues and these other tributes to the Confederacy can be put in a context where there can be some historical instruction as opposed to being in a context where it’s imposed on people in various communities and ways that seem to be endorsements of the Confederacy or even celebrations,” Person said.

Right now Madison County Commissioners are in an active lawsuit against the state for moving the Confederate monument from in front of the courthouse in downtown Huntsville.

Rep. Holmes says it’s still not clear how his bill would affect current cases if it passes.

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