What to Know
- House Bill 97, which was filed December 12th by Rep. Mike Hill from Pensacola, makes it a felony to move or damage any remembrance,
A bill scheduled to be introduced to the Florida House during the upcoming session is aimed at protecting monuments across the state – include statues, street names and other Confederate memorials that have been the subject of controversy in recent years.
House Bill 97, which was filed December 12th by Rep. Mike Hill from Pensacola, makes it a felony to move or damage any remembrance designated after March 1822 on public property except for construction, repair or improvements.
Hill, who was the first African-American to be elected as a Republican to the Florida House from the panhandle since Reconstruction, told the Miami New Times earlier this month the memorials – including those honoring Confederate generals and military members – should be preserved for educational value.
"It will not change any person's life today by tearing down a Confederate monument or tearing down a statue or tearing down a cross. It will not change any person's life by doing that. What it will do is prevent someone from learning the history of why it was there in the first place,” Hill told the paper.
Hill served two terms in the Florida House starting in 2012 before a failed attempt to win a seat in the State Senate. He was elected again this November on a platform that included protecting Confederate monuments.
The bill also expands the definition of veteran in the state to include those who fought in additional battles, including the American Revolution as well as the War of 1812, the Seminole and Mexican-American Wars and the Civil War as well as more recent battles that include both World Wars and Operation Enduring Freedom among others.
A bill introduced by Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat from Broward County, that would have removed every Confederate statue, street name and other memorial in the state never made it to a vote during last year’s session.