Republican state legislator joins call to change monument Preservation Act
Montgomery, Ala. —State Representative Mike Ball, a Republican representing parts of Madison County, called for repealing or modifying the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. Ball told radio host Jeff Poor on Tuesday that the 2017 law was “a huge overstep” by the Alabama Legislature. “It was a huge expansion on state authority that we didn’t have any business imposing state authority on,” Ball said. The law protects monuments including Confederate statutes more than 40 years old and prohibits cities and counties from removing them without a waiver or a $25,000 fine.
The response follows months of calls from state Democrat legislators calling for the repeal of the law. State Representative Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) pre-filed a bill for the 2021 legislative session that would repeal the law. Givan told AL.com in August that “these types of monuments breed troubled grounds.” In June, AL.com reported that State Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D) and Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) met to discuss the law’s future. Both agreed it needs to reviewed during the next session. Marsh said he supported allowing cities and city leaders “to have options” to move monuments to historical parks. Singleton said he has “always supported a repeal.”
The law has come under scrutiny since the killing of George Floyd with hundreds of Confederate symbols sited in city squares, courthouses, and parks across the South. In June, the City of Birmingham agreed to pay the $25,000 fine when Mayor Randall Woodfin had a large monument dedicated to Confederate sailors and soldiers removed from Linn Park in downtown Birmingham. Other cities and counties have refused to openly violate the law as it currently written, leading to continued protests in Madison County and other parts of Alabama.