- Associated Press - Monday, April 11, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A state senator says an Oklahoma bill to protect military monuments on public property has been altered in a way to preserve memorials to the Confederacy.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1TMoTfK ) reports that the bill was approved by the Senate last year and remains alive in the current legislative session.

In its original version, the bill prevented state and local governments from renaming or removing structures or monuments that honor military figures or events for a list of military conflicts starting with World War I and ending with the second Persian Gulf War.

The bill was replaced with a version that didn’t specify which wars were covered when it got to a House committee March 30.

Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, said he learned of the issue from a constituent.

Symbols of the Confederacy have sparked controversy in the U.S., with some people saying that they’re an objectionable tribute to those who supported slavery, while others say they pay tribute to Americans who fought and died in the Civil War.

Holt said the bill appears to be intended to prevent any action to reverse commemorations of Confederate generals.

“I can imagine no other practical purpose for it,” Holt said.

Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant, said the measure was altered to be more inclusive of all military conflicts, but wasn’t specifically directed to the Confederacy.

He said a group approached him saying that under the previous version, important conflicts, such as the American Revolutionary War, wouldn’t be included. He said he doesn’t see a problem that the measure would also cover the Civil War.

Holt said that if local governments wanted to revise these memorials, they should have every right to do so. The bill would allow local governments to petition the Oklahoma Historical Society for a waiver from having to comply with the rules. The request would require two public hearings.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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