Monumental Decisions in Tallahassee

TALLAHASSEE (970 WFLA) -- The debate over civil war monuments continues in the Florida Capitol. 

A subcommittee has approved House Bill 67 by Representative Kionne McGhee (D-Miami). McGhee says his bill is designed to create a Florida slavery memorial "to honor the nameless and forgotten men, women and children, who have gone unrecognized for their undeniable contributions to our great state."

McGhee introduced a similar bill during this year's session, but it's picked up significant new support for 2018.

Meantime, a group that commemorates the Confederacy wants Florida lawmakers to reconsider their decision last year to remove Confederate general Kirby Smith's bust from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol. The statue is still there because lawmakers haven't agreed on a replacement. 

David McAllister with Save Southern Heritage says a poll by Gravis Marketing shows 77 percent support for keeping Smith in Washington. 

McAllister also urges lawmakers to increase the penalty for defacing Confederate statues and statues honoring other veterans. He says that same poll shows the issue is make or break for the GOP, implying that Republicans who go against Confederate monument protections may end up losing their seats in Republican primaries. His group issued a release noting Lawrence McClure's victory in the District 58 Republican House primary over Yvonne Fry. McClure supports a statewide monument protection bill. 

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