New Florida Bill on Damaging Confederate Monuments

New Florida Bill Allows Civilians to Sue When It Comes to Damaging or Removing Confederate Monuments, Officials Say.

Apr 26, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
New Florida Bill
A Confederate monument featuring an 8-foot statue of a Confederate soldier in Lee Park on August 20, 2017, in Pensacola, Florida JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES


New Florida Bill enables Floridians to protect their national or local wealth. But, some think the bill has controversial background. Overall, the bill says that if someone damages or destroys monuments, defenders of national treasures can sue him/her. Although there is a lot of talk about it, it is not certain whether it will actually be adopted. The Florida Senate is still considering the issue.

New Florida Bill Provokes Contempt in Citizens

New Florida Bill
PENSACOLA, FL – AUGUST 20: A Confederate monument featuring an 8-foot statue of a Confederate soldier. PHOTO BY JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES


This law primarily supported the Republican Party. She did this through her committee – the Community Affairs Committee. What is questionable is the payment of a fine in an amount three times greater than the value of the monument itself. The costs are the same regardless of the type of violation – spraying, urinating in a public place, relocation or complete destruction.


The bill’s name is SB 1096. The bill shows gratitude towards history: “dedicated to a historical person, entity, event or series of events and that honor or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel or the past or present public service of a resident of the geographical area”. But, citizens show contempt for some monuments.


New Florida Bill
A statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, that has since been taken down (photo via Flickr)


It refers to emblems honoring the white men who died protecting the Southern states throughout the American Civil War. Many of them tried to expand slavery to the west. In addition to statues, obelisks, arches, and fountains, the bill cover plaques, banners, and flags. In this way, local governments will be targeted by citizens, who will be able to sue them.

Protesters Claim Monuments Protect White Supremacy

Florida State Capitol
Florida State Capitol. Wikipedia


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During 2020, primarily in America and Europe, mass protests arouse by the murder of George Floyd. All those protests took place in front of the monument and were massive.  Demonstrators claimed that by elevating racist characters to the role of heroes, the monuments supported white supremacy. On June 9, the city of Jacksonville demolished a bronze monument honoring the Jacksonville Light Infantry, a Confederate regiment.


Lori Berman, one of the two senators who opposed the bill, said: “I think this bill is absolutely a response to the removal of Confederate statues, no question. Since the removal of monuments began, those who support the bill say that this is how history is preserved. Jonathan Martin, a Republican senator representing Fort Myers and sponsor of the bill, said: “What I like about these memorials in public places is that everybody has the opportunity to see who we were”.


governor galvez pensacola statue
A Statue of Bernardo de Gálvez in Pensacola, Florida, via Bernardo de Gálvez Monument


The Governmental Rights and Accountability Committee of the Florida Senate voted in support of SB 1096 before Community Affairs. The Rules Committee must also adopt the proposed bill in its current form before it can be brought to the floor of the Florida State Senate.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.