RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday the Robert E. Lee monument will be taken down as soon as possible, but an exact timeline of when that will happen is unclear.
The governor says he’s working with the Department of General Services to remove the statue and place it in storage until officials can decide what to do with it. Officials will also have a discussion on what to do with the pedestal it currently sits on.
“It was wrong then and it’s wrong now,” Northam said Thursday. “So, we’re taking it down.”
When it comes to other Confederate monuments in Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney says he and 9th District Councilman Michael Jones will introduce an ordinance on July 1 to remove all Confederate monuments from Monument Avenue, when it becomes legal for localities to take down statues on their property.
During the 2020 General Assembly, Virginia lawmakers passed legislation giving localities the authority to ‘remove, relocate, contextualize, or cover’ any monument on the locality’s public property.
Under Virginia law, there is a timeline of items that need to happen before the monuments can come down.
- Prior to removing, relocating, contextualizing or covering any publicly owned monument, the locality should publish a notice of a public hearing
- After completion of the hearing, the locality may vote on whether to relocate, remove, contextualize or cover the movement
- If the locality decides to remove, relocate, contextualize or cover the monument, the locality has to wait at least 30 days and offer it to any ‘museum, historical society, government or military battlefield’
- The law also authorizes the locality to call for an advisory referendum prior to voting on the final decision
- The locality has the sole authority to make the final decision
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