A couple of days ago I voiced my disagreement with a bill that the Virginia legislature hoped to pass that would prevent local communities from making decisions about what to do with their Confederate monuments. In that post I called on the governor to veto HB 587.
Today the governor did just that:
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 587, which overrides the authority of local governments to remove or modify monuments or war memorials erected before 1998.
The rich history of our Commonwealth is one of our great assets. My administration strongly supports historic preservation efforts, including the preservation of war memorials and monuments. However, this legislation would have been a sweeping override of local authority over these monuments and memorials including potential ramifications for interpretive signage to tell the story of some of our darkest moments during the Civil War.
There is a legitimate discussion going on in localities across the Commonwealth regarding whether to retain, remove, or alter certain symbols of the Confederacy. These discussions are often difficult and complicated. They are unique to each community’s specific history and the specific monument or memorial being discussed. This bill effectively ends these important conversations.
I am committed to supporting a constructive dialogue regarding the preservation of war memorials and monuments, but I do not support this override of local authority.
Accordingly, I veto this bill.
It goes without saying that I agree with the reasoning expressed above. In fact, I couldn’t have written it better myself.