Florida Bill Blocking Removal Of Confederate Monuments Advances

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A bill that would prevent the removal of Confederate statues is making its way through the Florida House and Senate.

On Tuesday (February 13), the Senate Community Affairs Committee voted in favor of Senate Bill 1122, which aims to block the removal of historic state monuments, including Confederate statues, and would allow local governmental bodies to be sued over such removal, per WMFE.

One supporter of the bill said the measure will protect “white society.”

“This product of the removal of statues of historical significance that are over 100 years old is a part of the cultural war being waged against White society,” Live Oak attorney Charles Patrick said.

“In supporting White culture, or supporting the concept or the need to push white supremacy is what I heard. White culture, white supremacy. I just want to clarify that was your intent in your public testimony here today,” Senator Alexis Calatayud (R-Miami) said in response to Patrick.

“Yes, it was,” the attorney said.

Opponents of the bill noted that most Confederate statues were constructed as a symbol of white supremacy during the Jim Crow era.

“They were there to make sure Black communities understood that they were not welcome. Which is why, following the erection of all these statues, over 800 in America, we saw what was known as the great migration, where Black communities fled the South to go to the North,” Women’s Voices of Southwest Florida’s Ida Smith said.

It’s unclear whether the bill will continue to move through the House and Senate. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) signaled that she may be opposed to bringing the bill to the floor following the remarks made at Tuesday’s meeting.

“There are problems with the bill. More than that, there are problems in perceptions among our caucus, on all sides. So, I’m going to take that into consideration. I’m not going to bring a bill to the floor that is so abhorrent to everybody,” she said.

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