Louisiana House passes bill protecting Confederate statues

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House Bill 71 from state State Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, prevents "altering, removing, relocating, or destroying a memorial, including any structure, plaque, statue, or monument that is located on public property and that commemorates specified wars in US history".

Edwards said while Louisiana's Confederate past is "certainly part of our history, can we say it's the best part?"

GAS TAX BILL & TAX REFORM MEASURES A Louisiana House panel Tuesday narrowly approved a bill that would raise the state's gasoline tax by 17 cents per gallon...a move that's expected to raise a half-billion in state aid for roads and bridges.

Rep. Joseph Bouie, a New Orleans Democrat who is caucus chairman, said representatives had shown a lack of leadership by advancing the bill Monday. The entire Legislative Black Caucus voted against it.

"If you would see the emails I've received on what they feel should be done about this bill and why we should pass it - I wont use the language", said state Rep. He said the bill's aim is not to maintain Confederate monuments, but rather to let local residents vote on the issue.

The bill's sponsor, Republican state Rep. Thomas Carmody, told USA Today he drafted the bill after "concerned citizens" asked him to "put the people's voice into the process" of moving the Confederate monuments.

The vote prompted several hours of passionate debating, with the majority of speeches coming from those who opposed the legislation, including members of the Black Caucus.

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New Orleans recently removed two of four statues honoring Confederate-era figures.

Carmody's own town of Shreveport has been embroiled in debate over what to do with a Confederate monument in front of the parish courthouse.

In June 2015, after a gunman killed nine and wounded three others in a predominantly African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, several communities throughout the South reconsidered the message sent by their prominent displays of Confederate monuments and the Confederate battle flag.

During the debate, Democratic Representative Sam Jones asked Carmody about his views on why the USA had a Civil War, in particular whether he thought slavery was a driving force in the conflict, to which Carmody responded "No".

Rep Gary Carter (D) argued:'In my city, the City of New Orleans, should we have a statue or memorial for someone who fought for my enslavement? The Liberty Monument, left, was taken down on April 24 and the statue of Jefferson Davis, right, was taken down on May 11.

St. Louis may soon join the growing list of cities removing monuments to the Confederacy, city officials said Tuesday.

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