Louisiana House backs ban on removal of Confederate statues

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The House Ways and Means Committee-where most other tax measures have gone to die this session-is scheduled to hear House Bill 632 by Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, today.

"I applaud the bipartisan vote in Ways and Means on a bill to dedicate new revenue today that helps us move forward to improve and fix the crumbling infrastructure that Bobby Jindal left behind", Gene Reynolds, D-Minden, House Democratic Caucus Chairman said. When asked by New Orleans Rep. Gary Carter whether Carmody believes the US should keep its monuments "that honor people who fought to maintain slavery", Carmody said he's merely "interjecting the public's will". They said working families are struggling in a state with one of the nation's highest unemployment rates and can't afford new charges at the gas pump.

Members of the black caucus spoke passionately against the bill, with Democratic Rep. Ted James of Baton Rouge calling the measure "the worst thing" he has seen in the Legislature since he was elected in 2011. But he called it "problematic" in its current form and said it had caused more division than he ever saw in his eight years as a legislator.

It's fair to say that this debate has awakened a grisly history, one that the state's Republican lawmakers seem intent on trying to protect and celebrate. "Because it's so emotional, people have come forward and said, 'We would at least like the opportunity to vote on these statues".

Rep. Joseph Bouie, a New Orleans Democrat who is chairman of the caucus, said his fellow House members showed poor leadership by advancing the bill.

Rep Gary Carter (D) argued:'In my city, the City of New Orleans, should we have a statue or memorial for someone who fought for my enslavement?

The bill will not affect the four New Orleans monuments set for removal. In late April an obelisk honoring an uprising in 1874 during which white New Orleanians shot police officers to protest Reconstruction, and which bore a plaque commemorating white supremacy, was removed under cover of night, with armed police surrounding the scene to reduce the chances of violence.

On Saturday night, white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, led by alt-right leader Richard Spencer held a tiki torch-lit rally at the foot of a Confederate monument to protest the town's recent decision to remove statues of Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Workers removing the monuments have generally worn bulletproof vests and helmets and have covered their faces to obscure their identities.

'It was disgusting. We just couldn't stay.

"We haven't had a lot of success", he said, adding "We're going to be there Tuesday". The views expressed in these articles are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

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