Bill protecting Confederate, other monuments on wobbly ground in Senate
Kathleen Passidomo. Image via Colin Hackley.

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'I’m not going to bring a bill to the floor that is so abhorrent to everybody.'

Following a heated debate in a Senate committee, legislation to prohibit local governments from dismantling monuments to Confederates, the Confederacy and other historical markers is on shaky ground in the Senate.

The bill (SB 1122) passed through the Senate Community Affairs Committee. But Democrats on the panel walked out before the vote, after some members of the public who spoke in support of the bill said the bill was needed to protect “White society” from a culture war.

“I’ve spoken to all of them,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican, referring to the Democrats on the committee. “They were not upset about the bill. They were upset about the abhorrent behavior of some public members who testified. That’s what they were upset about, and they have every reason to be upset.”

The bill has passed through two committees and has one more stop, in Senate Fiscal Policy, before making it to the Senate floor. But Passidomo said she’s unsure whether it will make it that far.

“There are problems with the bill,” Passidomo said. “More than that, there are problems with the perceptions among our caucus, on all sides. So I’m going to take that into consideration. I’m not going to bring a bill to the floor that is so abhorrent to everybody.”

All local government ordinances relating to the removal of monuments, statues and historic markers would be voided by the bill, and local government officials who violate the law would be fined $1,000. The measure also allows any group involved with designing or putting up a monument, or any person “regularly using the monument or memorial for remembrance” to sue for up to $100,000 in damages if the monument is removed.

“Tonight, Florida Senate Democrats stood up against racism and hate,” the Senate Democrats posted on X  to explain the walkout. “‘Preserving history’ should never come at the expense of Black Floridians. We are proud to defend our values, but deeply saddened by the disgusting and dangerous displays tonight in the Florida Capitol.”

The sponsor of the bill, GOP Sen. Jonathan Martin of Fort Myers, has defended the measure, noting it applies to all monuments, not just those honoring the Confederacy — a group of rebels who tried to secede from the United States to preserve the enslavement of African Americans. Martin said he disavowed the comments from supporters of the bill Tuesday who expressed support for White supremacy, but said local governments shouldn’t be removing monuments.

Gray Rohrer


5 comments

  • Linwood Wright

    February 7, 2024 at 2:09 pm

    Civil War participation trophies don’t need protecting.

    • Ricky Bobby

      February 7, 2024 at 2:25 pm

      Most people that walk up to these statues have no idea who these individuals were. If it wasn’t for cell phones and the ability to google search they would have no clue. Most of them couldn’t tell you who the current president of the US is or who are the US Senators.

      • Dont Say FLA

        February 7, 2024 at 3:16 pm

        If nobody knows who they are, explain the big attachment to these monuments to losers, please. And explain Rhonda’s obsession with them.

        Rhonda just wants to keep monuments to losers. That way there can be a Rhonda monument erected which may not be torn down immediately after Florida’s voters break free of the GOP’s legislative chains.

      • m

        February 10, 2024 at 6:27 pm

        Was that a request to improve our public schools?

  • nuts everywhere

    February 8, 2024 at 4:15 pm

    you cannot control what people will say, so many nuts out there. could have been someone from the other side, just to upset the apple cart.. if it does go further, you can bet there will be people from the group who wants the bill to die, to speak and say they are white supremacists, just to upset others. count on it. those of us who want the historical monuments to keep standing, do not support white supremacist or that way of thinking

Comments are closed.


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