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New Bills Target Stone Mountain, Confederate Monuments Across Georgia

Democratic state lawmakers announced new bills Wednesday that would prohibit Confederate monuments across Georgia and put Stone Mountain Park — and its massive carving honoring rebel leaders — directly in the crosshairs.

Reps. Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville) and Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) were flanked by a handful of other legislators and activists as they discussed their proposals during a press conference at the state Capitol.

“The reality is, it’s not a matter of if these symbols come down,” Mitchell said. “It’s just when.”

House Bills 237 and 238, filed by Hutchinson earlier this week, would not only remove the protections for Confederate monuments in current Georgia law but expressly prohibit tributes that are “related to the Confederate States of America, slave owners or persons advocating for slavery” on public property. There would be exceptions for museums and Civil War battlefields.

Mitchell said he planned to file a corresponding bill later Wednesday. That piece of legislation, he said, would take a more focused approach, eliminating restrictions on the Stone Mountain Memorial Association’s ability to make changes to Confederate imagery at Stone Mountain Park.

The memorial association is a state authority charged by law with maintaining an “appropriate” tribute to the Confederacy at the park.

The association’s board recently tasked CEO Bill Stephens with assembling a task force to consider proposals that would bring the park “into the 21st century.” But Stephens has said that current law limits what changes can be made, and that “additions” to the park are more likely that subtractions of Confederate imagery.

Activists and advocacy groups, meanwhile, have argued that there’s already sufficient legal wiggle room for the memorial association to act if it wanted to. Mitchell said his bill would remove any doubt.

“This bill will simply give the memorial association authority to change the policy,” Mitchell said. “They will be able to take down memorials, Confederate flags, and stop maintaining the sculpture that is on the granite rock there.”

Read entire article at Atlanta Journal-Constitution