- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas said Thursday he won’t allow the debate that brought down the Confederate flag to extend to any other public property.

Lucas’ statement comes one week after his chamber provided the vote necessary to remove the flag and the pole it flew on from the Statehouse’s front lawn. Both were taken down in a ceremony Friday and sent to a state museum.

It happened weeks after nine parishioners were shot to death at a historic black church in Charleston. The victims included the pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney. A 21-year-old white man faces nine murder charges. Photos accompanying a racist manifesto show him holding Confederate flags.

“We reached a swift resolution last week and in doing so put an end to the discussion. Debate over this issue will not be expanded or entertained throughout the remainder of my time as speaker,” said Lucas, R-Hartsville.

Lucas was among those voting last week to remove the flag from its 30-foot perch. The 2000 compromise that removed a larger version of the battle flag from the capitol building’s dome said any change to monuments, markers, streets or buildings named for historical figures or events needs a two-thirds approval by both the House and Senate.

Some people want Clemson and Winthrop universities to remove the name of white supremacist Ben Tillman from one of the campus’ best-known buildings. Each college has a Tillman Hall, named after former governor-turned-U.S.-senator, who helped found the schools. He also advocated killing black people, and his policies ushered in the Jim Crow-era South.

A statue of Tillman faces the Confederate monument on Statehouse grounds where the flag once flew. House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said the 2000 law, named the Heritage Act, is overly broad.

In 2008, Rutherford proposed removing the statue. That bill went nowhere, and he’s not renewing the idea. But he and other black lawmakers believe a plaque should be added to Tillman’s statue and others on Statehouse grounds to give the public a more complete history of who’s honored there. Rutherford, D-Columbia, suggests the Tillman statue provide excerpts of his own speeches.

“It’s not my intent to whitewash our history or pretend it doesn’t exist,” he said. “I want people to come and read it. We need to know people like him existed and can exist again.”

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