TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE) - Monuments dot the grounds of the state Capitol. They honor first responders, veterans, and even Martin Luther King Jr.
Florida’s historic capitol building and current state capitol building, in Tallahassee on August 31, 2013.
Now, Florida is one step closer to adding a new monument to the grounds after a House committee gave a near unanimous thumbs up to a bill constructing a slavery memorial.
Spring Hill Representative Blaise Ingoglia says, "Adding this is a good thing. Not only to remind us of the injustices that have happened in the past, but in the light of everything that's happening right now.”
The design of the monument will be left to planners if the bill becomes law.
The bill ran into trouble last session, but after the events in Charlottesville the Legislation has taken on a new importance.
Senator Dennis Baxley is credited with killing the bill last session. He says that won’t be the case this time around.
Baxley said, “We should all honor those who came before us because we're none perfect and we didn't live in their time, but we can see the challenges that they faced and I want to reward that. And I want to be about building monuments rather than tearing them down and I need to make good on that and so I'm going to try to.”
The bill has strong bipartisan support this year, and lawmakers on both side are optimistic the legislation will pass.
Representative Kionne McGhee, a democrat from Cutler Bay says, “You're looking at an incoming leader of the Florida House for the Minority Party here along with the chair of the Republican Party of Florida. If there's ever a moment where true bipartisanship is shown, it's here on this defining issue.”
If constructed, the monument would be the first of its kind at any state Capitol.
The monument would be constructed by the Department of Management Services. There’s no official cost estimate for the construction.