Localities in Virginia are one step closer to having control over Confederate monuments in their region. A bill ceding that power passed out of a key committee for the first time time Monday.
The proposed change in law would allow localities to move or alter war memorials. That’s currently forbidden, and it’s the reason a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee still stands in Charlottesville. City Council voted years ago to remove it.
Larycia Hawkins is a Charlottesville resident who was pleased to see the bill move forward. She came to Richmond to watch the vote, with a group of Charlottesville residents.
“What we’re trying to do here is bring back a modicum of what many conservative say they want which is federalism, local control. Communities making decisions about what’s right for their community,” she said.
Andrew Morehead, representing the Virginia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, spoke against the change.
His group is afraid that, given the power, localities across the state will remove Confederate monuments.
“They’re saying all confederate (memorials)… we want them down,” Morehead said, adding that he thinks the bill is part of a plan from the Governor’s office to remove all Confederate monuments.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are more than a hundred confederate memorials throughout Virginia. Many were built decades after the end of the war during the height of Jim Crow.