Rep. Edgar V. Starnes (R-Caldwell) introduced the bill, and explained
that its purpose is to prevent an individual or a minority of
individuals from removing historic monuments from state property. He
mentioned that respected community leaders, including Tom Smith,
Capitol Brigade Commander of the North Carolina Division, Sons of
Confederate Veterans, were present to speak in favor of the bill.
However, the chairman did not recognize Mr. Smith. Instead, he
called on Libba Evans, the Secretary of the Department of Cultural
Resources, to speak AGAINST the bill. Sec. Evans claimed that DCR
is "all about protection and preservation," and that this bill would
not permit state agencies such as the NC Museum of History to remove
displays (such as the Confederate flag exhibit) for necessary care
and maintenance. However, the bill clearly states that state
agencies are allowed to temporarily remove displays "for the
protection, preservation, upkeep, and care of these ... historic flag
displays." Sec. Evans can be reached at (919) 733-4867 or by e-mail
The committee chairman, Rep. Womble, and his two vice chairmen, Rep.
Alma Adams (D-Guilford) and Rep. Bernard Allen (D-Wake), all said
that they were "concerned" that the bill would lead to "problems"
related to Confederate flag displays, such as those "problems" that
supposedly occurred in South Carolina and Georgia. Of course, the
problems in those states occurred precisely because a minority of
individuals wanted to REMOVE Confederate flags, against the will of a
majority of the states' residents, and this is precisely the
situation that this bill would guard against.
Rep. Adams raised several objections to the bill, including the fact
that it would supposedly usurp the power of municipalities to control
their own monuments. However, the bill specifically applies only to
those historic monuments "on public property of the State," and not
to federal, municipal, or private property. Despite the groundless
nature of her objections, the chairman continued to delegate his
legal staff the responsibility of researching these "legal issues."
A number of committee members, including Rep. Rex L. Baker (R-
Forsyth), Rep. Joanne W. Bowie (R-Guilford), and Rep. Alex Warner (D-
Cumberland), argued in favor of INCREASING the penalty associated
with removing historic memorials, and thus strengthening the bill.
The committee chairman and his cohort vice-chairmen have made it
clear that they will work to prevent this bill from coming up for a
vote by the committee. Please contact them and urge them to let the
committee vote on House Bill 252, which is important for the
preservation of North Carolina's heritage:
Rep. Larry M. Womble (D), 919-733-5777, Larryw@ncleg.net
Rep. Alma S. Adams (D), 919-733-5902, Almaa@ncleg.net
Rep. Bernard Allen (D), 919-715-2528, Bernarda@ncleg.net
Also, please contact the other committee members and urge them to
support House Bill 252. Many of these committee members are
supporters of Southern heritage, and they will vote in favor of the
bill if given the opportunity. They need to be encouraged to fight
for the right to vote for the Protection of Historic Monuments:
Rep. Rex L. Baker (R), 919-733-5787,
Rep. Joanne W. Bowie (R), 919-733-5877, Jonib@ncleg.net
Rep. J. Russell Capps (R), 919-715-2526, Russellc@ncleg.net
Rep. Arlie F. Culp (R), 919-733-5865, Arliec@ncleg.net
Rep. Jerry C. Dockham (R), 919-733-5822, Jerryd@ncleg.net
Rep. Bob England (D), 919-715-3021, Bobe@ncleg.net
Rep. D. Bruce Goforth (D), 919-733-5746, Bruceg@ncleg.net
Rep. Mitchell (R), 919-733-4948, Mitchells@ncleg.net
Rep. Alex Warner (D), 919-733-5853, Alexw@ncleg.net
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION 2003, HOUSE BILL 252
Short Title: Protection of Historic Monuments. (Public)
Sponsors: Representatives Starnes; and Hilton.
Referred to: State Government.
March 6, 2003
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE PROTECTION OF NORTH CAROLINA'S HISTORIC
MONUMENTS AND MEMORIALS.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Chapter 121 of the General Statutes
is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 121-13.3. Protection of North Carolina historic
monuments and memorials.
(a) Except as provided by subsection (b) of
this section, no monument, memorial, plaque, marker, or historic
flag display commemorating events, veterans, or persons of North
Carolina history on public property of the State or any of its
political subdivisions may be relocated, removed, disturbed,
altered, or defaced.
(b) Monuments, memorials, plaques, markers, and
historic flag displays set forth in subsection (a) of this
section may be removed, relocated, or altered by one of the
(1) With the approval of the General
Assembly by a simple majority of the members voting
in each house.
(2) With the approval of the North
Carolina Historical Commission by a simple majority
of the members voting at a regularly scheduled
(3) Upon the authority of the public or
private body responsible for the protection,
preservation, upkeep, and care of these monuments,
memorials, plaques, markers, or historic flag
displays. Any monument, memorial, plaque, marker,
or historic flag display removed for the reasons
set forth in this subdivision must be returned to
its original location when the activity is
(c) A person who willfully violates the provisions
of this section shall be guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor."
SECTION 2. This act becomes effective December 1,
2003, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.