By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, April 17, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 60, the Memorials Preservation Act. SB60 was sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa). The bill was carried in the House by State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City).
Rep. Mack Butler said on social media, “After several hours of lively debate we passed SB 60 which is the Memorial Preservation Act which deals with the preservation of Alabama’s monuments.”
The President of the Southern Historical Protection Group, Mike Williams, said in a statement, “Today a major step was taken that will help heal the divisiveness of a few who feel that if they holler that they are offended that government entities will jump to their demands. The passage of SB 60 has been in the works for over three years now and will, at the minimum give other people an opportunity to have input before any part of history is removed. There has been a rush by the perpetually offended to do away with southern history and culture, and that has created divisiveness to the point that had it not been taken care of, there is risk of other sites to those who wish their history told, to be torn down or vandalized. I do not condone, nor does my organization condone the tearing down or vandalization of ANY monument, but I do understand that this has been one sided. I commend Senator Gerald Allen and Representative Mack Butler for getting this bill passed. Now maybe we can move on together and not let a few tear us apart. God bless the SOUTH!” Mike Williams is also the past State of Alabama Adjutant of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Many Black members of the legislature spoke against the bill.
State Representative Thomas Jackson (D-Thomasville) said, “Here I am in this 21st century and we have a Memorial Preservation Act and I ask myself.”
State Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) said “You all in Alabama are trying to live in the past. Man the Civil War is over with. The South lost the Civil War.”
State Representative Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) said, “Those types of bill continue to put Alabama in a negative light. I don’t think we need this Legislation. This is what I consider an embarrassment to the State of Alabama.”
State Representative Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) called the Confederacy, “A black eye on the whole United States.” Moore said that this is causing those of us who are old enough to remember segregation to have flashbacks. Moore said that a White man put a gun to her head when she was six for using the White people’s restroom.
Jackson said, “Why do you want to keep that horrible time alive. Keep it alive so we can pass it on to the next generation so they can resurrect it.” “If it is dead and buried let it stay dead and buried.”
State Representative Steve Clouse (R-Ozark said, “it is been a long hard journey I would like to commend you on that.”
Rep. Butler said, “This is a very popular bill back home.” “I have had a number of phone calls and emails from my district supporting this bill
Rep. Givan said, “Those Confederate Memorials are offensive. They are a reminder of a time when Black people were treated as chattel.”
The bill passed 72 to 29 but was heavily amended.
The Senate now has to either concur with the changes or the two Houses will have to resolve the differences before it can be sent to Governor Kay Ivey (R).