Following three hours of some of the most emotional debate this session, the Texas Senate voted along party lines last night to ban cities, counties, and school districts from unliaterally moving to remove monuments which have been in place for at last 25 years, without first getting the approval of the taxpayers in an election, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The vote to remove must be by a super majority of the board, council, or commissioners court.
The bill, if it is passed as is by the House and signed by Gov. Abbott, will also require a public vote before the 1940 era Alamo Cenotaph can be moved as part of the $400 million renovation of Alamo Plaza, potentially endangering the entire project.
The measure, even though the language in the bill doesn't say it, is specifically aimed at the midnight removal of Confederate monuments, like the Confederate memorial in Travis Park, which was removed in 2017.
State Sen. Brandon Creighon (R-Conroe), the sponsor of the bill, says, good or bad, it is our history and must be acknowledged.
"We have these monuments to remember, remember the good and the bad, the failure and the success, and how the events mentioned by these monuments led us to where we are today," Creighton told the Senate.
But the Senate's two African American members, Borris Miles (D-Houston) and Royce West (D-Dallas) delivered impassioned remarks against the bill, calling it 'disgraceful' and urging Senators to 'remember that these monuments celebrate the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters.'
African American members of the Texas House also converged on the Senate, a very unusual situation, to urge Senators to reject the bill.
The measure also forbids the unilateral renaming of streets or schools which are named for Confederate figures.
If the monument is on state property, like the Jefferson Davis statue recently removed from the Mall at the University of Texas, a two thirds' super majority' of the Legislature has to approve their removal.
The measure now goes to the House, where its future is uncertain.