Birmingham legislator wants to repeal monuments bill, let local residents decide future of Confederate monuments

Confederate Monument in Linn Park, Birmingham (Photo: WIAT)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Birmingham-area Rep. Juandalynn Givan said Thursday she has filed two bills in the Alabama Legislature aimed at repealing the so-called monuments bill that prevents removal of Confederate statues in Alabama.

Givan said her proposals would repeal the monuments bill, and she is also drafting a bill that would allow local residents to vote on a local monument removal either by referendum or a vote of the relevant city council, according to a news release.

The announcement comes a day after Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall sued the City of Birmingham and Mayor William Bell, after Bell ordered city workers to cover a Confederate memorial in the city’s Linn Park.

The monument issue has become a charged national issue.

It’s been raised by President Trump this week after last weekend’s white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Va. Trump has argued Confederate monuments around the country should not be disturbed and called them “beautiful.”

Bell ordered the memorial covered Tuesday.

Marshall said the law, passed by the Alabama Legislature this year, requires the Attorney General to intervene if a local government tries to move or alter a monument that is at least 40 years old. The bill calls for a $25,000 fine for each violation of the law, such as “altering” or “otherwise disturb” the memorial.

The lawsuit claims Birmingham has committed both those violations and argues that each day the monument is covered, additional fines should be applied.  The case is currently in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

The Confederate monument in Birmingham was donated to the city in 1905 by the “United Daughters of the Confederacy.”

The monument bill bars any interference with any monument over 40 years old. It also establishes a committee to review proposals for removal of monuments less than 40 years old.

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