House sub sinks another bill inspired by Confederate monument flap

The House State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday rejected a bill to expand state law dealing with historic monuments, reports The Tennessean. It’s the third bill inspired by the City of Memphis’ maneuvers on Confederate statues to fail so far this session.

The measure (HB 2146) sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, would have made the state part owner of all property under control of local government so long as it contains a historical statue or monument or is named after a person or event.

The legislation also threatened elected officials with removal from office if they ignored a decision from the state historical commission.

Hill said he introduced the legislation in response to Memphis officials’ decision to remove two controversial statues on public property last year and in order to give the state law additional “teeth.”

Further, the measure would have been retroactive and applied to all properties owned by local governments since April 2013, when the state’s Heritage Protection Act was enacted.

The purpose of such a measure, Hill said, was to give the historical commission additional power.

While presenting the bill, Hill said it was needed because while the commission can deny a request of a local government like it did in Memphis, nothing would stop the local government from taking a similar approach as Bluff City.

… Several members of the House State Government Subcommittee expressed hesitation regarding the bill.

Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, said he worried about the measure because it gave the historical commission — which consists of political appointees — the power of eminent domain.

“I’m not comfortable with giving them that power,” he said.

Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, said he was concerned about the potential for the state to be on the hook financially if someone gets injured on the properties in question.

And Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, asked Hill how many properties and artifacts would apply under the legislation, to which the sponsor said he was unsure.

… Two other measures introduced after Memphis’ action last year appear to have been halted as well.

..A proposal (HB2554) that prohibits public entities from selling, transferring or donating historical memorials in order to circumvent the state’s Heritage Protection Act.

A bill (HB2131) that would withhold state funds from local governments if they sell, remove, relocate or destroy historical memorials after being denied a waiver from the historical commission.

9 Responses to House sub sinks another bill inspired by Confederate monument flap

  • Eddie White says:

    I guess passing this legislation would not be the politically correct thing to do. What the city of Memphis did makes the Hictorical Commission look like a joke. It would be nice to see the legislature stand up in support of the commission. Maybe it does not help Harwell’s campaign for governor.

  • Randy Hendon says:

    So sad today – We are counting on the State to do the right thing and protect our past History from Rogue local Governments like Memphis. It is Radical and Anti American to remove Confederate Monuments- all History should be respected – warts and all. The political left is now the new American ” Taliban “. Freedom of Speech is next – as is a cleansing of Colonial America remembrances and the reverence toward the Founding Fathers! Gun Control is another aim they have and attacks on the Electoral College.
    Please help us Tennessee!! – We are a proud part of the State – HELP us!Please support the State Historical Commission! Please support the Tennessee Historical Act of 2013!

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    So it’s open season on monuments and memorials that we don’t currently like? Is there one iota of backbone in Tennessee state government?

  • Ronnie Neill says:

    I always thought the Confederates were the anti Americans.

  • Eddie White says:

    In this part of the country, the confederates were our great grandfathers. And we still have some respect for our ancestors.

  • James F Schaeffer says:

    What Memphis did was well within its rights as the owner of the statues and the land which comprised the parks. The Legislature screwed up years ago by passing a law that failed to provide any penalty for the City removing the statues. The Historical Commission gave no heed to Memphis’s desire to move the statues. They certainly could have been moved to a more appropriate location, but compromise was not entertained by the SCV and others. Forrest himself wasn’t interested in glorifying a lost cause if you take his comments after the war and to a Black audience in 1875 at face value. But, 30 years later during the height (depth) of Jim Crow, others had a different idea, and put up the statue anyway.

  • Eddie White says:

    Ah yes, thank you James for that clarification. It all comes down to racism.

  • James F Schaeffer says:

    Eddie, in Forrest’s speech to the Pallbearer’s Association he all but denounced racism. But, the times had become toxic in 1905 with Jim Crow. And, by the way, my family was from North Alabama, and they were decidedly Pro-Union just like folks across the state line in Lawrence and Wayne counties in Tennessee. Remember, Tennessee needed two secession votes, the first having failed. So, not everyone”s ancestors were Confederate by any means. Too bad you felt the need to play the “Race Card!”

  • Eddie White says:

    My great grandfather on my grandfather’s side fought with the union, and my great,great grandfather on my grandmother’s side fought with the confederacy. They both came from the same community in Smith County Tennessee, and they are buried about 5 miles a part in Sullivan’s Bend of Smith County. I am very aware of southern and state history. Like a lot of others, I am tired of folks like you trying to rewrite southern history and write out those who fought for what they believed at the time was right. Like most confederate soilders, none of my ancestors owned slaves. They were responding to the call of Tennessee to fight for their state. Their cause was not a just cause, but we should not delete their part of history for the sake of political correctness and then assign racism to all who disagree.

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