Virginia lawmakers strike down bill to allow local leaders to choose fate of Confederate monuments

A Virginia subcommittee struck down a bill that would have allowed local leaders to decide if they want Confederate monuments to remain in their counties or towns.

The bill was initially fueled by the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville protesting the city's plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

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Though the House Bill 2377 failed in subcommittee, the debate rages on about whether the state should have the final say on if the monuments should be removed.

"I think the people in the town would have more of a say," Leesburg resident Nancy Lombardi told FOX 5. "I'd like to have them all taken down. It's just a part of history that is not told properly, it's not told truthfully and to me, it's just hurtful."

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"I don't think we can disregard our history," Leesburg resident Lisa Smith said. "It's not all good but we have to learn from it."

This is the second year in a row that Charlottesville Delegate David Toscano's bill has failed.

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NAACP leaders across Virginia said they would continue lawmakers to try again.

"None of these people who are voting against giving localities responsibility, they can't say that they were in Charlottesville so they do not know the horror, the terrorism, they have not experienced that first hand," Pastor Michelle C. Thomas, president of the NAACP Loudoun County chapter said.

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"In this community here, a lot of people say, 'you're replacing history,' but if you want history the library is right down the street and you can read all the history you want. What this (statue) is is a message," Attorney Phillip Thompson, executive committee member of the Virginia NAACP said. "These Confederate statues, if you look at the timeframe, they were all placed in front of courthouses throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia in the early 1900s in order to send a message."

The NAACP told FOX 5 it would continue to push lawmakers in preparation for the next legislative session where the bill could be presented again for the third time.