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Northam signs bill to let localities determine fate of Confederate monuments 

Posted at 8:22 PM, Apr 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-11 20:30:45-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed more of this year's high-profile legislation, including a bill that gives localities permission to remove Confederate monuments.

SB 183 and HB 1537 overturn Virginian's prohibition on the removal of Confederate war memorials.

"Starting July 1, localities will have the ability to remove, relocate, or contextualize the monuments in their communities," Northam said in a statement. "Virginia is home to more than 220 public memorials to the Confederacy."

Northam said Confederate monuments tell a particular view of history that doesn't include everyone.

Various groups oppose removing the monuments or altering the statues, so the move will likely reignite the conversation around Richmond's Monument Avenue.

Additionally, SB 612 and HB 1406 would create a commission to recommend a replacement for the Robert E. Lee statue in the United States Capitol.

Officials said eight statues in the National Statuary Hall have been replaced so far and that seven other states are "working through a similar process to replace statues."

Northam’s office announced that he had taken action on the measures ahead of the end-of-day Saturday deadline to amend, sign or veto most bills passed during this year’s legislative session.

But as of late Saturday afternoon, Northam’s office had not said what action he would take on two closely watched issues: a bill raising the minimum wage and another allowing public sector collective bargaining under limited circumstances.

Additionally, the governor has yet to take action on legalizing casinos or marijuana decriminalization.