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Black Florida Lawmaker Files Bill to Protect State’s Confederate Monuments

A Confederate monument featuring a statue of a Confederate soldier is seen at the Ocala Veterans Park in the midst of a national controversy over whether Confederate symbols should be removed from public display on August 19, 2017 in Ocala, Florida. The issue is at the heart of a debate …
Joe Raedle/Getty
WARNER TODD HUSTON

A conservative black lawmaker in Florida has filed a bill that would prevent local governments from tearing down Confederate monuments and statues.

Florida House District 1 Representative Mike Hill filed the “Soldiers’ and Heroes’ Monuments and Memorials Protection Act-” that would protect all “remembrances” built on public property on or after the year 1822 — which would include all Confederate monuments most of which began appearing in the 1880s and later, according to Tampa’s channel 10 news.

The bill “prohibits damage to or removal of certain remembrances” as well as “removal or other specified activities concerning remembrances on public property” and grants the state authority to enforce the law.

Rep. Hill’s bill came after Florida State University removed a statue to former Tallahassee Mayor Francis Eppes who was a supporter of the Confederacy during the Civil War. The school removed the statue without notice and in the middle of the night.

Hill recently told the Broward Palm Beach New Times that tearing down Confederate statues does not help anyone.

“It will not change any person’s life today by tearing down a Confederate monument or tearing down a statue or tearing down a cross,” Hill said. “It will not change any person’s life by doing that. What it will do is prevent someone from learning the history of why it was there in the first place.”

The bill maintains that no statue may be altered or moved unless it stands in the way of certain construction projects and in those cases, they have to be rededicated nearby.

Hill’s bill would also prevent the sort of trickery some cities have indulged to destroy monuments by selling the property upon which the monuments sit and then “allowing” the private owners to destroy the monuments.

The bill also mandates that damaging or defacing a monument would be a third-degree felony.

Hill won his district seat with 61 percent of the vote and campaigned on state’s rights, the Second Amendment, and protecting American heritage (including Confederate history).

Recently Hill also came to support the convention of states aimed at calling representatives from the states together to make certain alterations to the U.S. Constitution.

Rep. Hill is enthusiastic about advocating for a convention of states to “reign in the power of the federal government,” he said in a video:

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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