Georgia House Bill 175, which removes protections for Confederate monuments on public property in Georgia, is co-sponsored by state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, and others. It deletes language from OCGA 50-3-1 which prohibits the removal, relocation, or defacing of publicly owned monuments, plaques markers, or memorials which are dedicated to, honor, or recount the military service of any past or present military personnel.
That means Confederate-related statues and memorials on public property would no longer be protected and vandalism against them would not be punishable under Georgia law. You can read the bill here.
However, state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, declares “We need to respect and preserve our history, good, bad or indifferent. “We need to just add new ones, not take away our old ones,” he says. He has introduced Senate Bill 77 which prohibits relocation of any Confederate monuments and triples fines and penalties for anyone who vandalizes or moves monuments.
Another bill – Senate Bill 51 by Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta- would permit localities to decide whether Confederate monuments should stay or be moved. She says it is in response to a controversial obelisk in front of the downtown Decatur courthouse that pays homage to fallen Rebel soldiers. You can see Senate Bill 51 here.
A footnote to House Bill 175 involves the Stone Mountain Confederate memorial. Current law ensures that the carving of the three Confederate leaders on the mountain can never be removed, altered, concealed, or obscured and OCGA 50-3-1(c) says Stone Mountain “shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.” But HB 175:
- Strikes those protections of Stone Mountain, and
- Reads that no publicly or privately-owned monument shall be on public property, and
- Instead directs such monuments to be displayed in state-owned museums.
- Strikes language that ensures the Confederate flag is not prohibited from being flown on public OR private property, including decorative or patriotic purposes, either inside or outside of any residence, store, place of business, public building, or school building (which is currently protected in OCGA 50-3-10)
- Strikes language that the Stone Mountain Memorial Association’s responsibility includes “maintaining an appropriate and suitable memorial for the Confederacy.”