By Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Senate has passed a bill that would restrict cities and counties from removing historical monuments, including Confederate ones, from public property. ( ) reports that the Alabama Heritage Preservation Act passed despite several Democratic senators calling it an intrusion on local government authority.

The bill, which is headed to the House, would prohibit the removal, relocation, alteration or renaming of monuments on public property.

Republican Sen. Gerald Allen says monuments are important reminders of historic events.

Sen. Hank Sanders, a Democrat, called the bill an effort to preserve monuments to people who supported slavery.

Confederate symbols have come under increased public scrutiny since the June massacre of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The man charged in the shooting had been photographed holding the battle flag.

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