Debate on protecting historical statues and markers stirs emotions in Texas House

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AUSTIN -- Slave ownership and Confederate figures spilled into a tense debate on the [Texas] House floor Wednesday over a bill aiming to safeguard historical markers against possible removal or renaming.

Emotions over the bill, which its author ultimately pulled after two hours of debate, peaked when two lawmakers were separated during a spat over how the bill even made it to the House floor.

Under the bill, statues of figures like Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee or buildings named after figures such as civil rights activist Cesar Chavez that are on state land could only be removed or renamed with approval from the Legislature, Texas Historical Commission or state preservation board. Current state law only protects monuments of Texans honored for military service.

But proposed amendments that called to possibly deny that protection to Confederate figures or, more specifically, members of the Ku Klux Klan, led to intense and emotional debates on the floor.

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