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Senate President: Governor “reactionary” in call to remove Confederate monuments, legislature unlikely to repeal 2015 law

When the General Assembly convenes in special session Friday, don’t expect lawmakers to rush to repeal a 2015 state law that prevents cities and counties from removing or relocating Confederate monuments.

Governor Roy Cooper called for the repeal of the law on Tuesday in response to recent violence in  Charlottesville, Virginia and the toppling of a confederate statue in Durham Monday night.

Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger responded to the governor’s appeal on Facebook Thursday:

Personally, I do not think an impulsive decision to pull down every Confederate monument in North Carolina is wise. In my opinion, rewriting history is a fool’s errand, and those trying to rewrite history unfortunately are likely taking a first step toward repeating it. Two years ago, the state Senate unanimously passed a bill that tried to reduce the politics in making these decisions. I believe many current members of the Senate would be hesitant to begin erasing our state and country’s history by replacing that process with a unilateral removal of all monuments with no public discourse.

I don’t have a lot of answers about what we can do to heal the wounds of racial injustice that still exist in our state and country. But I know it won’t happen with angry mobs. It won’t happen with opportunistic politicians trying to drive a wedge further between us. It will require our leaders to show some humility and compassion as we try to chart a path forward.

Berger also said the governor “falsely protrayed” House Bill 330 that would grant immunity from civil liability to a motorist who strikes a demonstrator with their vehicle.

HB 330 passed the House in April and possibly could see action by the Senate in an upcoming special session, if leadership decides to advance it.

You can read Senator Berger’s full statement about Charlottesville and Durham here.

2 Comments


  1. scott bryan

    August 18, 2017 at 8:43 am

    “I believe many current members of the Senate would be hesitant to begin erasing our state and country’s history by replacing that process with a unilateral removal of all monuments with no public discourse.”

    Tell us Senator. What is your definition of public discourse.

    Is it placing legislation on the calendar that’s never been seen, much less debated or open for public comment?
    I’m curious.

  2. Ed stein

    August 22, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Removing confederate monuments from public property doesn’t “erase history” any more than the removal of “Whites Only” signs did. The civil war won’t vanish from history books, Mathew Brady’s photographs won’t go blank, & the hundreds of battlefields & cemeteries won’t fall off the earth. The argument that removing statues & plaques honoring a defeated rebellion that embraced human bondage somehow makes that sordid chapter of American history disappear is magical thinking.

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