“It is true that there are monuments in our history that do not reflect our values,” he said, during a ceremony in front of Gordon Lee High School. “We cannot erase them from our history. We must learn from them. These monuments and markers remind us of how far we’ve come not only as a state but as a country.”
Sponsored this year by state Sen. Jeff Mullis, the legislation allows local governments to sue vandals who deface monuments for up to three times the value of the damages. To the displeasure of some Democrats, the law also bans moving monuments from a prominent location to a museum.
If local officials choose to move monuments, they have to put them in “a site of similar prominence.” The law is not explicitly about Confederate monuments and applies to all plaques, statues and flags that celebrate religious, political, cultural or military figures.
During his speech, Kemp never mentioned the Civil War by name. Instead, he discussed military veterans of the world wars, as well as wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. He also said the law protects monuments that honor first responders and civil rights leaders.
“This bill will make a lasting impact on countless Georgians,” he said.
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