Bill Would Protect Monuments, Forbid School Name Changes

A bill filed in the Texas Legislature would make it far more difficult to change the names of streets and schools, or to demolish Confederate monuments, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

State Rep. Kyle Biedermann's (R-Fredericksburg) bill prohibits school districts from changing the name of a school, like, for example, Lee High School, without the approval of a majority of people who live in the school district.

The bill also prohibits the use of any taxpayer money to facilitate a school name change.

The measure also requires a vote of two thirds of the members of the state House and Senate to approve the removal or demolishing of any memorial which has stood for at least twenty years.

"In this section, "monument or memorial" means a permanent monument, memorial, or other designation, including a statue, portrait, plaque, seal, symbol, building name, bridge name, park name, area name, school name, or street name, that:

(1) is located on state property; and

(2) honors an event or person of historical

significance," the proposal reads.

Once again, no public funds can be used to remove or relocate any historic monument.

Any monument which has stood for less that twenty years still needs the permission of the Texas Historical Commission or the State Preservation Board before it can be removed.

Any public monument or memorial which is removed must be immediately relocated to some other public place. This is in direct response to the City of San Antonio's removal of the Confederate Monument in Travis Park, which remains in an 'undisclosed location' despite a federal lawsuit filed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

"The minute we allow monuments to be taken down, on the altar of political correctness, we begin to erase our history. We cannot learn as a society when deny our past by picking and choosing what we feel comfortable in remembering," Biedermann said.

He said Texans are 'growing weary of seeing monuments taken down in the dark of night,' like the Travis Park monument.

Today, it is Civil War monuments and the sacred Cenotaph of the Alamo Defenders. Tomorrow it will be monuments and memorials dedicated to WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War," Biedermann said.

Biedermann previously introduced a bill that would require that the Cenotaph not be moved as part of the Alamo Plaza 're-imagining.'

Interestingly, rather than criminal penalties, Biedermann's bill allows any individuals or city councils or school boards who remove monuments in violation of this law to be sued for civil damages. Increasingly, people who participate in group actions against, for example, Confederate monuments already have 'Go Fund Me' accounts set up for their bail and potential criminal fine. But the threat of being dragged into civil court and have your possessions threatened in a lawsuit is seen to be a far more serious deterrent.

"Mark my words," Biedermann said. "Those seeking to sanitize our history have just begun."

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