RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — CBS 6 political reporter Joe St. George has learned Republican Delegate Bob Marshall will introduce a bill Monday that would require the Commonwealth of Virginia to maintain slave gravesites.
Currently, the Commonwealth maintains the graves of many former Civil War soldiers, but not slaves.
“I know this bill is late,” Marshall said Sunday. “But a late idea doesn’t mean it is a bad idea.”
Marshall said it would be left to the governor to determine how much funds would be needed each year.
“I expect this to get support,” Marshall said.
Teaming up with the longtime conservative, is an unlikely Virginia politico. Former Virginia Democratic party chair Paul Goldman is encouraging Democrats to back the matter.
“The state treated them like property when they were alive. It is important for us to right this wrong as best we can now, and make they get the respect they deserve and be treated for the rest of time as we would expect ourselves to be treated, as people,” Goldman said.
Tuesday is “crossover” day in the General Assembly.
The bill would not require local matching funds under current language. Along with the funds, an advisory commission would be created to monitor which sites would be taken care of.
Below is language from the bill.
The Advisory Commission to Protect Slave Cemeteries and Graves (the Commission), is established as an advisory commission, within the meaning of § 2.2-2100, in the executive branch of state government. The purpose of the Commission shall be to develop a list of memorial associations that are responsible or have taken responsibility for the care of the graves of Virginians held as slaves at the time of their deaths or cemeteries containing such graves. The Commission shall consist of 11 members as follows: two members of the House of Delegates to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates; two members of the Senate of Virginia to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules; and seven nonlegislative citizen members to be appointed by the Governor. Legislative members shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office or until their successors shall qualify. Nonlegislative citizen members shall serve for terms of four years. Staff support for the Commission shall be provided by the Department.