By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, February 16, the Senate Government Affairs Committee voted 5 to 2 to recommend a favorable report be given for Senate Bill 13, the Alabama Heritage Preservation Act – sometimes referred to as the “Monuments Bill.” SB13 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa).
Sons of Confederate Veterans Adjutant Mike Williams said in a statement, “SB13 passes committee after much discussion today. I was worried when the chairman of the committee, Senator Jimmy Holley called me up to the CHAIR just before starting but he asked if I was OK with the bill, I said yes, and he said he was going to motion that it be accepted and favorable out of committee. It is NOT OVER, much discussion and floor votes are next.”
State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said, “This is the first step in the legislative process. The Alabama Heritage Preservation Act is an effort to try to stop political correctness and revision of our history.”
Sponsor, Senator Gerald Allen, said in a statement, “This legislation is about protecting all of Alabama’s history for every Alabamian, which includes the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. There is a revisionist movement afoot to cover over many parts of American history. Our national and state history should be remembered as it happened. This politically-correct movement to strike whole periods of the past from our collective memory is divisive and unnecessary.”
The Confederate Heritage Group Save Our South wrote, “**SB13 Alabama Heritage Bill** It has passed out of Committee with a favorable vote!! One more step towards stopping the removal of Civil War History from our state!”
SB13 would create the Alabama Heritage Preservation Act of 2016. This bill would prohibit the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, or other disturbance of certain commemorative statues, monuments, memorials, or plaques which are located on public property. This bill would prohibit any person from preventing the governmental entity having responsibility for maintaining the objects from taking proper measures to protect, preserve, care for, repair, or restore the objects. The bill would also authorize the Alabama Legislative Council to grant waivers under certain circumstances and would provide for the levy of fines against governmental entities that act without approval of the Legislative Council. This bill would also exempt certain art and artifacts, the Department of Transportation, and local highway departments under certain limited circumstances.
The Association of County Commissions of Alabama and the Alabama NAACP both opposed the bill at the public hearing on February 9.
Following the assassination of South Carolina State Senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney and several members of his Church by a troubled young man who posed in pictures with a Confederate Flag there was a national movement to crack down on Confederate symbols. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) ordered all the Confederate flags be taken down on the Capital grounds. The City of New Orleans is in the process of removing a number of historic monuments to the Confederacy. Birmingham is considering moving the Confederate Veterans Memorial out of Linn Park. Senator Allen introduced SB 13 in response to the politically correct wave of monument removals.
The Bill now goes to the full Senate for its consideration.