A new legislation in the Florida House could force the protection of monuments honoring soldiers of the Confederate States of America. According to Florida Politics, the new legislation named HB 395 could find local lawmakers and officials who voted to remove controversial memorials and even give Ron DeSantis the power to “remove elected leaders from local office from the time the bill takes effect.”
“An elected official acting in his or her official capacity who knowingly and willfully violates this section is subject to removal from office by the Governor,” read the bill.
Additionally, the bill proposed retroactive penalties including fines for previously removed monuments or memorials after 2016 and take back removal funds by “withholding cultural funding provided by the Department of State until that financial obligation is satisfied, to pay for the replacement of the monument.”
HB 395’s fieler, former Republican Jacksonville mayor Dean Black, noted that this legislation was a much better bill compared to its previous version.
Jacksonville’s current Democrate mayor Donna Deegan criticized the bill in a statement following its announcement.
“This bill would be just another slap in the face to our Black community, which has already endured so much. It’s also an unconstitutional overreach that is the latest example of home rule being stripped away from Florida cities,” she said.
DeSantis’ office has decided not to comment on the legislation due to it only recently being introduced, according to a statement by Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern.
“Since this legislation is still subject to the legislative process (and therefore different iterations), the governor will decide on the merits of the bill in final form if and when it passes and is delivered to the governor’s office,” said Redfern.
But with DeSantis’ recent sympathy towards the protections of Confederate monuments, it’s more than likely he would be favorable towards the legislation if it were to go through.