Jordan Pascale, NPR, February 11, 2020
Localities in Virginia are closer to having the power to remove some 220 Confederate statues and monuments in public spaces.
Democrats, who took control of the House and Senate in November, passed two similar bills on near party-line votes on Tuesday. The bills generally allow cities to “remove, relocate, contextualize, cover or alter” monuments in public spaces.
The House version says localities must offer the monument to museums, historical societies, governments or military battlefields for 30 days before removal.
The Senate version does the same, but also has stricter provisions: a historic review, a public comment period and a requirement that the locality’s governing body must have at least a two-thirds vote to authorize the change.
The differences between the two will still need to be worked out.
State law has banned any modifications to the monuments. But cities including Charlottesville, Alexandria, Portsmouth and Norfolk have all indicated they want to remove statues, according to The Associated Press.
Republican lawmakers have rejected calls to allow the controversial statues to come down. They say that erases history and the fervor could spread to other controversial conflicts, like the Vietnam War.
“I do not believe this will end well,” said Republican Del. Charles Poindexter.