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By Phillip Stucky
Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation Wednesday that protects Confederate memorials from removal or modification.
Specifically, the law bans the removal or modification of monuments that have been in place for more than 40 years, according to the Associated Press. Schools that have born an individual’s name for more than 40 years can also not be renamed, and a commission must decide whether changes to memorials or schools between 20 and 40 years of age is appropriate.
Ivey’s signature comes following the Alabama Senate’s approval of the bill Friday. Republican Sen. Gerald Allen, the sponsor of the bill, blasted what he described as a “wave of political correctness” against monuments dedicated to those who, despite their flaws, were significant to history. However, Democratic Sen. Hank Sanders said Confederate monuments “represent oppression to a large part of the people in the state of Alabama.” (RELATED: Alabama Legislature Passes Bill Protecting Confederate Memorials)
Alabama’s new law passed five days after New Orleans took down the last of its 4 Confederate memorials.
“[The law] ensures that history is preserved for all generations,” Daniel Sparkman, deputy press secretary for Ivey, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Sparkman stressed that the law was not about legitimizing discrimination.
“This bill is not about protecting discrimination. It’s about making sure that we don’t forget our mistakes and so that’s why [Gov. Ivey] went ahead and signed this because it’s about protecting our history, not about protecting some people’s history as opposed to others’. It’s about protecting everyone’s history.”
The governor tried to satisfy both Republicans and Democrats with the law by incorporating an amendment, which was approved by the state legislature. The amendment stipulated that schools named after or otherwise dedicated to a person, movement, or military service cannot be renamed without consent from the Committee on Alabama Monument Protection but can be relocated or altered.