Alabama lawmaker wants to increase the penalty for removing statues

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The statue atop the Confederate monument outside the Madison County Courthouse in Huntsville is lifted away from the monument early Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 in Huntsville, Ala. (Paul Gattis/al.com via AP)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WLNS) – State lawmakers in Alabama are debating a controversial proposal to dramatically increase the fines for communities that remove Confederate monuments.

Right now, the state fines any city that chooses to remove a Confederate statue $25,000 under the Memorial Preservation Act. That law was passed in 2017 in response to a national movement calling for the removal of Confederate monuments.

Supporters of that movement say those monuments attempt to glorify the Confederacy and slavery in America. Opponents say the statues, most of which were erected decades after the war, commemorate the history of the American South.

A proposal by Alabama State Rep. Mike Holmes would update the law so that, rather than a one-time fee, communities that remove Confederate statues would be fined $10,000 per day.

“It’s a deterrent. The citizens of Alabama are upset at the damaging and destroying of these monuments,” Holmes said.

In defending the bill today, Holmes said the Civil War was not about slavery. Historians agree that the fate of the institution of slavery was the main cause of the Civil War.

“It further shows white supremacy,” said Democratic State Rep. Juandalynn Givan in opposition to Holmes’ bill. “Why would you fine somebody $10,000 a day? That is ludicrous. But yet you say you are here for the people. And then you don’t know why the freaking war was fought.”

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