Florida Republican state Rep. Mike Hill, the first individual who is African-American to be elected to represent the state’s panhandle since the Civil War, is pushing legislation that would prohibit local governments from removing monuments, including those to Confederate soldiers.
According to the Pensacola News Journal, the bill would protect public “remembrances” built on or after March 22, 1822, and make it a third-degree felony to deface or damage a monument.
Hill’s legislation came more than a year after the violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, which erupted out of a dispute over whether to take down a statue of Confederate Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee.
As IJR previously reported, the issue popped up in multiple areas of the country. Earlier this year, Hill stood in front of a Confederate monument and called for President Donald Trump’s Hollywood star to be placed in Pensacola.
Watch the video below:
Posted by Mike Hill on Wednesday, August 22, 2018
According to the Miami New Times earlier this month, Hill defended his decision as a way to preserve history.
“It will not change any person’s life by doing that. What it will do is prevent someone from learning the history of why it was there in the first place,” he said.
While he admitted that slavery was part of the Civil War, he suggested the statues served as a way to properly remember that.
“We fought a terrible war — over 600,000 people died — so that we could rid this nation of slavery,” he said.
“I think that is something that we shouldn’t erase or try to run away from,” he added. “That is something that we should understand, know and be proud of, that we were a nation that did that.”