A Virginia bill would let individual cities bypass state protocol and remove Confederate monuments, according a Thursday report.
The bill, introduced by Democratic House Minority Leader David Toscano, would allow localities to “remove or provide for the upkeep, maintenance, or contextualization of any such monument or memorial located in its public space,” reported The Associated Press.
“If you live in Loudon and you don’t want to have a Confederate statue taken down, you don’t have to have that taken down,” Toscano said. “But if you live in another place and your locality wants it to be taken down, that’s their right.”
Virginia currently prohibits the removal and defacement of war memorials, but legal ambiguity exists regarding whether the law applies to statues planted before the law’s institution, according to the AP. Toscano’s bill would apply to all monuments.
“We can’t change our history,” Republican delegate Charles Poindexter said. The delegate suggested that future generations could learn from the monuments and also noted that they comprised a critical component of Virginia’s tourism industry.
Poindexter doubted House Republicans would support the bill. Jeff Ryer, spokesman for the Senate Republicans, likewise did not think his caucus would provide much support.
“White supremacists came to my city [Charlottesville] last summer and wreaked deadly violence in the name of a statue,” said Toscano to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “My bill would empower localities to remove these statues if they so choose, or to keep them if they want to as well.”
This post has been updated to include comment from David Toscano.
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