87th LegislatureStatewide NewsFight Over Historical Monument Removal Brewing Ahead of the 87th Legislative Session

Sen. Brandon Creighton and Rep. Kyle Biedermann will each file legislation establishing protocols for removal or relocation of historic monuments and other pieces of artwork.
November 24, 2020
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State Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) announced this week that he will once again file legislation that would protect historical monuments from being removed outside specified protocols.

“When I first authored the bill, I was concerned that monuments were being removed, relocated or destroyed without any input or process. Since then, we have seen monuments attacked by mobs, demolished by protestors — even here on the grounds of the Texas Capitol,” Creighton emphasized.

State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) told The Texan that he will file companion legislation in the House to match Creighton’s.

“I will also be filing Monument Protection legislation and will work to ensure that the Alamo Plan prioritizes the battle and brave defenders. We have to ensure that history is not rewritten by the radical left. I’m grateful that Senator Creighton is also committed to this issue,” he stated.

This past summer, during the wave of protests — some of which turned into riots — after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the grounds of the Texas Capitol were overrun with protesters and vandals, alike. A historic fountain was uprooted during the disarray and multiple Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers were assaulted.

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Monuments, specifically to the confederacy or members therein, were targeted across the country, such as the “Confederate Dead” statue on Capitol grounds. However, damage wasn’t limited to memorials to the Confederate States of America.

Statues of George Washington, across the country, were defaced during the moment of pulsating mob rage as well as one of abolitionist Hans Christian Heg in Wisconsin.

In response to the unrest, many localities decided to remove statues with confederate ties. Denton and Tarrant Counties each obliged, while Parker County decided against the maneuver.

It also became an issue in Washington, D.C. as numerous figures of the Confederacy have statues in National Statuary Hall.

Creighton’s 2019 bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1663, would have established a process for removal or relocation of such monuments on state property through the deliberative elected bodies.

Removal or relocation of statues in existence for more than 25 years must be approved by a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

Statues in existence for less than 25 years may be removed by formal action of the governing body or state official which oversees the property on which it resides.

SB 1663 passed through the Senate but stalled in the House, dying in the Calendars Committee chaired by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo).

Pointing to the ongoing squabble over the Alamo Cenotaph and the process-focused approach, Creighton added, “Texas has already proved that this is possible — in September, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) held a public hearing to discuss the future of the Alamo Cenotaph. I joined thousands of Texans to provide testimony, and ultimately, the Commission voted overwhelmingly to keep the Cenotaph in its current location.”

The City of San Antonio attempted to move the monument to Texas’ most famous battle, as part of its Alamo renovation project, but the plan was rejected by the THC.

The coalition supportive of its relocation — the city, the Texas General Land Office, and the Alamo Trust — is moving forward with nearly its original renovation plan.

The bill also stipulated that the governing body of a higher education institution must approve removal or renaming of a monument — something Texas A&M University is considering with its statute of Sul Ross, a former governor and president of the school.

Creighton further stated part of his legislation will set protocols for artwork changes within the Capitol.

Neither the Senate nor the House bill has been filed yet, and whether any adjustments are made to the 2019 legislation remains to be seen.

The legislature convenes in January and with passions of the crowd from this summer largely turned toward other fish, Creighton and Biedermann aim to keep the 87th Legislature from taking its fryer elsewhere.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.