Senate panel approves bill protecting Confederate monuments
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 1/4/23-Sen. Rosalind Osgood, D-Tamarac, right, asks a question during the Senate Community Affairs committee meeting, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. Sen. Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers, is seen at left. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'These are the kinds of things we witnessed the Taliban do.'

A second Senate Committee approved a bill on a 6-2 party-line vote that could end local efforts to move (or “re-contextualize”) Confederate monuments and other markers of war.

Sponsored by Sen. Jonathan Martin, a Lee County Republican, the “Historical Monuments and Memorials Protection Act” (SB 1096) freezes in place any “plaque, statue, marker, flag, banner, cenotaph, religious symbol, painting, seal, tombstone, structure name, or display constructed and located with the intent of being permanently displayed or perpetually maintained,” honoring military or public service, “past or present,” with no exceptions contemplated.

Martin told the Senate Community Affairs Committee that local governments could be sued “if they moved it outside of the exceptions of this bill.” Third parties that move monuments could also be liable, including contractors involved in the removal.

Asked about confederate monuments in Jacksonville, which some have tried for years to move, Martin confirmed anyone in Florida or with any “historical preservation” organization would have standing for a lawsuit.

Monuments could not be removed, and plaques and signs attempting to put those constructions in historical context would only be permissible “on the monument and memorial” if Secretary of State Cord Byrd signs off. And local governments “are expressly prohibited from removing those memorials from public view.”

Public comments were both against and in favor of the bill, including from one local official.

Santa Rosa County Commissioner James Calkins lauded the sponsor for “pushing something to protect our monuments.”

“Right now, we have a movement in this country to take down and destroy historic monuments,” Calkins said. “They started with Confederate monuments. It didn’t end there. Christopher Columbus. George Washington’s next. We need to protect our monuments. We need to protect our history.”

Committee Vice Chair Rosalind Osgood, a Democrat from Broward County, was unconvinced by that argument in favor of the bill, citing “cultural differences” in debating the bill was a Trojan horse for the “Lost Cause” of racialist confederate enthusiasm.

“This makes this a really controversial issue,” Osgood said. “People who look like me really are offended by the Confederate monuments we see because we don’t see the Confederate monuments of the people of color who also fought in the Civil War. And the whole notion of the Lost Cause, which we believe is the start of erasing our history.”

Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley quickly responded, likening monument removal to an attempt to “disturb the grave” of someone from the past.

“These are the kinds of things we witnessed the Taliban do,” the Ocala Republican, a fifth-generation Floridian whose ancestor fought for the confederacy, contended.

In close, Martin acknowledged the controversy but said the monuments “help those who are coming up behind us to learn about the direction that we’re moving as a country.”

“There’s not a monument in the country that depicts a perfect person — except maybe one in a Catholic Church somewhere. I don’t come from a religion that likes to memorialize or create idols,” Martin added, contending that no “idol” or “monument” would be of a “perfect person.”

“You can’t have this conversation at a rally where everybody’s standing around with spray paint or pitchforks, and they’re screaming and shouting,” Martin added. “But we can have that conversation here.”

The bill does allow for moving monuments “for construction, expansion, or alteration of publicly owned buildings, roads, streets, highways, or other transportation projects.” When such a movement happens, the structures must be “relocated to a site of similar prominence, honor, visibility, and access within the same county or municipality in which the monument or memorial was originally located.”

Rep. Dean Black, a Jacksonville Republican, carries the House companion bill (HB 1607). That bill is also moving through Committees, with two stops ahead before the House floor.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Darnell A. Hobbs

    April 5, 2023 at 10:31 am

    Why are these people so obsessed with honoring a racist and treasonous movement that lasted half as long as Obama’s presidency?

    Just put up a tattered white flag somewhere and call that our Confederate monument.

    • Billy the Bamboozler McFraud

      April 5, 2023 at 1:10 pm

      For the same reason we still have Trumpists. America is fully of stupid and shtty people who will believe in anything…in Trump’s case.. that he had people other than rich people’s interests at heart. He poured snake oil all over everyone while he cut his own taxes and grifted people to a husk.

  • Seber Newsome III

    April 5, 2023 at 10:39 am

    We have tried for years to get a bill passed to protect ALL monuments, including the Confederate States of America, and this year it will happen. Hip Hip Hooray

    • Trojan Trolley Bill McSued

      April 5, 2023 at 1:07 pm

      They’ve all been taken out back in the woods somewhere already. Hip hop hooray for right wing political theatre and stunts that achieve nothing. Hip hip hooray.

    • Hail Satan 😈

      April 5, 2023 at 4:07 pm

      I love it.

      I’m going to start fundrasing to put up a huge Baphomet statue in downtown Tallahasee right in front of a Baptist Church.

      And thanks to laws like this, it will be protected no matter how much people whine about how offensive it is. And damaging it will be illegal too? Bonus!

  • TJC

    April 5, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Ah, the Confederate States of America. A country that existed for four years. A country that was at war those entire four years. A country which lost that war and therefore ceased to exist as a country. A country that was for four years the sworn enemy of the United States of America.
    A country that was the enemy of freedom.
    A country that was a monumental failure, both militarily and morally. Monumental.

    • Pro-Confederate or Pro-America. Choose one

      April 5, 2023 at 4:10 pm

      Conservatives actually HATE the United States as it stands now. That’s why they are so pro-Confederacy and are doing all these wild things to attack freedom, especially freedom of speech, in the country.

      If it were up the typical GOP voter, they’d make Jim Crow and slavery legal again. Because equal rights is WOKE.

  • Christopher S Davis

    April 5, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Tearing down statues is the sort of thing the Taliban does? The Taliban tears down statues from competing religions. For USA people tearing down statues of figures from the wrong side of USA’s own history, let’s look to the more obvious metaphor: Germans tearing down Nazi theme statues. That connection of the Nazi metaphor should have been easy to make and discuss give how Confederate USA types are strongly correlated with the Nazi movement in USA, but this politician wants to talk about Taliban? This politican seems to be a little lost.

  • Billy the Bamboozler McFraud Dog

    April 5, 2023 at 1:04 pm

    Yet they forbid the teaching of social studies and burn books. What a bunch of racist azz crackers. Most of those monuments have already been taken somewhere else already anyway so big fail. Just another right wing political stunt in place of government for other people besides rich people.

  • Mary Stevens

    April 5, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    You need to study history. The SOUTH brought no slaves to America. They were brought here by the European countries, then later the states of New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They made a fortune off the slave trading business. The South was illegally invaded and over 700,000 died in the war. The most of any war. There is proof that the Confederacy was in the process of freeing its slaves in order to seek independency. It only wanted freedom not war. If the Confederacy was so bad, then why didn’t the North let them go? The truth is that the evil North forced the South as they wanted Southern tariffs, shipping and manufacturing business.

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      April 5, 2023 at 9:59 pm

      Nearly every single word of this is factually incorrect.

      But I guess if Conservatives were actually intelligent and educated they wouldn’t be Conservatives. This post here from Mary Stevens is a great example of why people like Ron DeSantis are attacking public education. They need more dum-dums to keep voting them into power.

    • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

      April 6, 2023 at 4:55 pm

      “You need to study history” 😂
      Then continues to spew a bunch of complete nonsense, lies, and provable falsehoods.

      Mary, I think YOU need to study history.

  • Leonard

    April 6, 2023 at 8:13 am

    If you read the bill—you discover that it is an effort to protect American history. The word “confederate” is not in the bill. Open your eyes people! The left mob has torn down or damaged monuments to some of our greatest Americans including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. History is history…it happened….and if you don’t want to repeat the mistakes of history…then don’t erase history.

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      April 6, 2023 at 10:52 am

      Most of us are smart enough to read between the lines, Leonard. The word “confederate” isn’t there, because it doesn’t have to be. We all know exactly what this is about.

      Confederate monuments give racists such as yourself some validation, and that’s why people like you love them.

  • Fred

    April 7, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    Sounds like the Dr. needs some history education. Waves of iconoclasm always precede revolution. If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny how all these people with “advanced degrees” think they know our history, and spout off uninformed opinions at the drop of the hat.
    Which was the first state to begin discussing how to end slavery? What state financed the greatest amount of investment in slave shipments?
    These are the questions the Dr. doesn’t want in the discussion, if he even knows himself.

  • New Floridian

    April 11, 2023 at 9:26 am

    Because they serve as a reminder of both viewpoints.

Comments are closed.


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