On Tuesday, March 5, Senate Bill 77, sponsored by Georgia Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, passed the Senate.
"Last year my district, as well as several others around the state, had issues with gravestone desecration," Mullis said. "While current law provides protection to military monuments and memorials, Senate Bill 77 would extend this protection to all monuments.
"The issue is not a matter of the events people want to remember, rather, the events people must remember," he said. "All monuments are created for a purpose to remind us of certain events and lives that have played a part in creating the great state we live in today.
"In addition, the reason why this issue was brought to the Georgia Senate is that we don't have enough protection for the lives of people who can no longer stand up to honor and defend themselves.
"I was able to work with senators who stood in opposition to this bill and support two amendments on the Senate floor that may help ease tension from those opposed to the underlying debate. I look forward to seeing this bill move through the House and signed by the governor in the near future."
Senate Bill 77 provides protection for all monuments. The bill would prohibit individuals and agencies from removing or concealing monuments, and would allow for measures that would protect and preserve the monuments. The two events in which it would be appropriate for relocation of a monument include: construction in an area where a monument is currently located, or the expansion or alteration of the monument. The bill also specifies when a monument must be relocated, and where the monument can and cannot be relocated.
Georgia Sen. Jeff Mullis, a Republican from Chickamauga, is chairman of the Rules Committee. He represents the 53rd Senate District, which includes Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties and portions of Chattooga County. He can be reached at his office in Atlanta at 404-656-0057 or by email at email@example.com.