Two Georgia legislators have pre-filed legislation that would allow entities to relocate monuments on public property, an initiative that is sure to reignite the conversation about placement of Confederate monuments at Stone Mountain.
State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver and State Senator Elena Parent, both metro Area Democrats, filed House Bill 650 and Senate Bill 302, respectively and identical, on Wednesday, the first day legislators can pre-file legislation for the 2018 session.
Current Georgia law prohibits the removal or relocation of monuments from Stone Mountain if it will conceal the display of a monument, plaque, marker, or memorial, and is punishable as a misdemeanor. Specifically, the law prohibits the removal of a “publicly owned monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America, or several state thereof, or the Confederate States of America, or the several states thereof…”
The Georgia code also reads that Stone Mountain should 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.”
The new legislation would add language to permit the removal if the entity which owns the monument passes a resolution. It also permits the relocation of the memorials and the return to a private entity under a passed resolution.
State Representatives Jason Spencer and LaDawn Blackett Jones previously released a bipartisan plan to address the controversy of the monuments, but no legislation has been filed as of close of business on Thursday.
Democrat candidate for Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams has made the removal of monuments at Stone Mountain one of her campaign issues since August and has gone as far as to say the faces should be blown off the side of the mountain.
Governor Nathan Deal already removed the Confederate Holiday from the state government calendar and tweaks have been made to Confederate license plates.