By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, March 16, the Alabama Monument and Heritage Act of 2016, sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) has been approved by the Alabama House State Government Committee in a 7 to 4 vote.
The Alabama Division Adjutant of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans Mike Williams said that the bill, SB13, “Will go to the House of Representatives floor hopefully when the legislature resumes after Spring Break.”
Williams said, “I am pleased at the progress of this bill and thank the legislators who see through the opposition to the bill. This bill is to maintain the honor bestowed on those Alabamians who contributed to the history of this great state. I am proud to speak for those beyond the grave that gave in sacrifice for this state and their country.” “I want to thank Senator Allen for his diligence in sponsoring this bill. I look forward to the bill passing the House and being signed by the Governor.”
Democrats on the committee: Representatives John Rogers, Barbara Boyd, Ralph Howard, and Dario Melton all opposed the bill in the committee. Some argue that local governments should be allowed to govern their communities without interference from the state.
Williams said “Locals will have a say on this by following the procedure set in place. Have you ever known a city or county to need to react in less than 8 weeks on anything? Monuments and statues are Alabama’s because these people served not Andalusia Alabama, not, Huntsville Alabama, but just the good old State of Alabama.”
SB13 was carried in the Alabama House of Representatives by State Representative Paul Beckman (R-Prattville). Beckman sponsored the House version of the bill, HB3.
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.”
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.
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. The Confederate Heritage group, Save Our South filed a lawsuit to protect the Linn Park monument.
Senator Allen introduced SB13 in response to the politically correct wave of monument removals.
The bill has already passed the Senate. Now it is ready to move to the full Alabama House of Representatives.