Bill toughens protection of monuments
Tuesday, February 23, 2016 1:30 pm
NASHVILLE -- The state House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday, February 18 which could make it more difficult for local governments in Tennessee to alter, rename or remove a historical monument like the bust of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest currently on display at the State Capitol.
The bill by Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parker's Crossroads, isn't limited to Civil War monuments and memorials, but much of the 30-minute floor debate centered on the bill's impact on that era. It would replace and strengthen a 2013 law McDaniel sponsored as the Memphis City Council was renaming Forrest Park and two other Confederate-themed city parks.
The new bill would require a two-thirds majority vote by the 29-member Tennessee Historical Commission before a local government could "remove, rename, relocate, alter, rededicate or otherwise disturb or alter" any memorial or monument regarding a "historic conflict, historic event, historic figure or historic organization" located on public property. The 2013 statute required only a majority vote of the commission.
McDaniel's bill also includes a process in which either the local government, or groups and in some cases an interested individual, could appeal the Historical Commission's action into Chancery Court.
McDaniel grew up in Henderson County, near the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield, and is a graduate of the University of Memphis. Steve has been a small business owner for the past 30 years and was President of the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce for two terms.
Very supportive of battlefield preservation efforts in Tennessee, Steve served four terms as President of the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association. He was appointed by Governor Bredesen to the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. McDaniel is past president of the Henderson County Historical Society. He also served as the first president of the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield Association when organized in 1993 and currently serves the position of historian.