Senate Bill 444, the Memorial for Veterans bill, introduced in the Virginia Senate by Senator Jennifer T. Wexton:
Provides that a locality may remove, relocate, or alter a war monument or memorial, regardless of when erected.
The Committee on Local Government, comprised of 7 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted along party lines to “Pass by indefinitely” Wexton’s bill. The 7 Republicans voting to kill the bill were Senators Stanley, Hanger, DeSteph, Dunnavant, Chase, Sturtevant, and Carrico. Voting “no” on the motion to kill the bill were Democrats Marsden, Favola, Lewis, Surovell, McPike, and McClellan.
SB 444 would have stricken language passed in the Virginia legislature in 1890.
If such are erected, it shall be unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with any monuments or memorials so erected, or to prevent its citizens from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation and care of same. For purposes of this section, “disturb or interfere with” includes removal of, damaging or defacing monuments or memorials, or, in the case of the War Between the States, the placement of Union markings or monuments on previously designated Confederate memorials or the placement of Confederate markings or monuments on previously designated Union memorials.
Wexton, a Democrat, represents parts of Fairfax and Loudon counties, and was elected to the Virginia Senate in 2014. Wexton is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, challenging the incumbent, Republican Barbara Comstock.