MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Senate delayed debate Thursday on a bill that would have protected monuments older than 50 years old from being altered, removed or renamed.
The bill is similar to one introduced in 2016, after some state and local governments removed Confederate flags from public property in the wake of the shooting in Charleston of nine African-American churchgoers by Dylann Roof. Supporters this year have shied away from calling the measure a “Confederate” monuments bill, though the bill has seen opposition from black lawmakers. County governments and at least one chamber of commerce have also opposed the bill, saying it could interfere with construction and impinge on local control.
Democrats appeared prepared to filibuster the bill Thursday. Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, instead appealed to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, to put the bill on hold while senators discussed it further.
“I don’t want to remove your monuments,” Singleton said. “I don’t want you to remove mine.” He said supporters and opponents could reach a common ground with a few days of discussion.
The Senate did put the measure on hold at Allen’s request. It was one of a handful of bills on Thursday’s agenda, and senators adjourned before noon.