Texas lawmaker pushing bill to change how historic monuments are handled

Not everyone agrees with leaving commemorative statues of the Confederacy up, that's why we've seen high profile removals lately, like in New Orleans, and right here at U.T.

In 2015, the university decided to move the statue of confederate president Jefferson Davis to the Briscoe Center. “We have placed the Jefferson Davis statue in an education exhibit. So the statue has gone from a commemoration on campus to a place of education. It now exists as a teaching moment," said Benjamin Wright, assistant director for communication at Briscoe.

Confederate statues and monuments have been getting some backlash from some, saying they disrespect African-Americans, others say they honors the lives lost. Regardless of the politics, representative James White out of East Texas, wants to streamline the process, and keep feelings at bay.
“We want to make sure when those statues, plaques and memorials are put into an appropriate place, they're not just moved for ad hoc reasons,” said White. Ad hoc, meaning last minute or impromptu.

White feels that's not how it should go.

HB 1359 would require approval from either the legislature, the "Texas Historical Commission," or the "State Preservation Board" before relocating historical monuments and memorials. 

“We just wouldn't have this situation where we have this ad hoc, just moving statues and memorials,” said White. This would apply to all monuments, not just confederate or war related.

White says this would not only provide structure, but give time to have debates about where to place the statues. “When we look at the lives of these men and women, some of you may disagree with their positions in history but there is much to learn from it,” said White.

The Davis statue is an example.....they are using it as a teaching point at the Briscoe center. White's bill has gone through house committee on culture, recreation and tourism. He is optimistic about it passing.

Penalties for violating the law or moving these statues without going through one of those agencies- will be up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

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