ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two Missouri lawmakers have introduced vastly different measures aimed at addressing concerns over Confederate monuments.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that on one side, Democratic Sen. Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis has introduced a bill that would require Missouri's Confederate statues and plaques to be moved to a state park in Higginsville. It would also ban the sale or display of Confederate flags on state property.
"Our country is polarized due to systemic racism," Nasheed said. Besides, she noted, "We won, you know?"
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Warren Love of Osceola has filed a bill that would create a review process requiring the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to hold a public hearing on any potential changes before any war monument could be removed or renamed.
Love's bill applies to all conflicts America has been involved in, from the Civil War to the war in Iraq.
"I would not be in favor of going around the state and rounding up monuments placed by people who were honored because of serving their state," he said.
Missouri has 20 Confederate monuments when you count names of courthouses and an elementary school in Columbia, according to a 2016 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Last year, a Confederate monument in St. Louis' Forest Park was removed.
In Kansas City, a monument to the United Daughters of the Confederacy at 55th and Ward Parkway was vandalized in August 2017. The monument was boarded up and later removed to prevent further vandalism.
Also last year, a Confederate monument was vandalized in Springfield, prompting Love to post in a Facebook comment that the vandals should be "hung from a tall tree with a long rope." On Thursday a House committee voted to recommend that Love be reprimanded over the post, but a House rule allowed him to reject the punishment and the committee opted not to pursue the issue further.
Love has on his office wall pictures of both his great-great-grandfather, who fought for the Confederacy, and his great-great-uncle, who fought for the Union.
"My great-great-grandfather did not serve to keep slaves," he said. "Nor did my great-great grandfather who served in the Union serve in that war to free the slaves. He served because his state called him. ... They both did what they thought was right."
Nasheed said it's time to move on.
"Let's put that history behind us," she said. "The North won, so why are we highlighting Confederacy when you know and I know it was built on death and destruction of a race of people? It was built on prejudice. It was built on racism and bigotry."