As part of House Bill 91, violators could be charged with a misdemeanor if government statues, plaques, or other "commemorative symbols" are removed, concealed, or altered in any way. If moved to another location, the law would ensure that such items are displayed at a "site of similar prominence."
The law, which was filed by Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, defines a "monument" as:
'Monument' means a monument, plaque, statue, marker, flag, banner, structure name, display, or memorial that is dedicated to a historical entity, event or series of events, nation, or government and which honors or recounts the military service or other service of any past or present military personnel or citizen of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof.
Benton told Atlanta Daily World that he sponsored the measure after speaking with the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
"We're not saying they can't move them," says Benton. "We're just saying they can't just put them in a field somewhere."
If the Jeffersonian representative's name rings a bell, it's because he spoke out last September in favor of hanging the Ten Commandments in the Gold Dome. When asked by the AJC about displaying a framed copy of a religious document on the wall of taxpayer-funded facility, he replied: "I'm not concerned if anyone will take offense ... If they don't want to look at it, they don't have to look at it."
We've reached out to the Sons of Confederate Veterans regarding the timing of this particular bill. If we hear back, we'll post an update.
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