Associated Press, May 25, 2017
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed into law sweeping protections for Confederate and other long-standing monuments, a move that comes as some Southern cities remove Confederate monuments from public grounds.
Sen. Gerald Allen, the Republican bill sponsor, praised Ivey’s decision.
“Contrary to what its detractors say, the Memorial Preservation Act is intended to preserve all of Alabama’s history — the good and the bad — so our children and grandchildren can learn from the past to create a better future,” Allen said.
The new Alabama law prohibits the removal and alteration of monuments more than 40 years old. It also prohibits renaming schools that have carried a person’s name for more than 40 years. A new commission would have to approve changes to those between 20 and 40 years old.
African-American lawmakers opposed the bill at every step of the legislative process. They argued that the monuments pay tribute to the shameful legacy of slavery.
Birmingham’s park board has approved a resolution to remove a 52-foot-tall Confederate monument in a downtown park in 2015, prompting a legal challenge from a Southern heritage organization.