Capitol Alert

California bill banning Confederate names clears committee

Eddie Miller holds a Confederate flag in front of the statue and tomb of Nathan Bedford Forrest, rebel general, slave trader and early Ku Klux Klan member, during a celebration of Forrest's 194th birthday on July 13 at Health Sciences Park in Memphis, Tenn.
Eddie Miller holds a Confederate flag in front of the statue and tomb of Nathan Bedford Forrest, rebel general, slave trader and early Ku Klux Klan member, during a celebration of Forrest's 194th birthday on July 13 at Health Sciences Park in Memphis, Tenn. The Commercial Appeal

Senate Bill 539, which would prohibit the naming of public buildings and roads in California after Confederate leaders, advanced from its sole policy committee Tuesday on a 7-1 vote. It heads next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for fiscal consideration.

Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, accepted amendments to exclude cities, as well as buildings named for those cities, from the bill. The proposal has generated some controversy over whether the town of Fort Bragg would be forced to change its name.

Several lawmakers voiced concerns about what other historical figures would be deemed unsuitable to memorialize, and raised objections to the state mandate, because it does not account for individual communities’ sensibilities about what is offensive.

“Why not leave this to local jurisdictions?” said Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, the sole no vote.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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