By Steven Allen Adams, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would provide protections for monuments, including those honoring Confederate soldiers, resulted in large turnout by opponents who believe the bill protects and glorifies racism.
The House Government Organization Committee held a virtual public hearing Wednesday afternoon on House Bill 2174, the West Virginia Monument and Memorial Protection Act. The bill is on second reading today in the House of Delegates and up for passage Friday.
HB 2174 prohibits the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, rededicating of statues, monuments, memorials, schools, streets, bridge, and parks named for historical military figures, units, and actions. The bill’s prohibitions cover everything from the French and Indian War in the early 1700s to Operation: Iraqi Freedom in 2004. The bill protects monuments for labor movement leaders, black civil rights leaders, native American history, natural and manmade disasters.
The bill specifically applies to public property owned by the state, counties, and municipalities. Monuments would only be able to be moved upon petition to the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. The bill includes criminal penalties for moving monuments without approval, making it a misdemeanor with a up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail…