The "Texas Hero Protection Act" was filed by Rep. James White, the sole African-American Republican in the Texas House, and is meant to protect any building, plaque, or memorial dedicated to "heroes of the Confederate States of America or the Texas War for Independence." And he's not going to let anyone guilt him about it.
“I’m tired of political correctness,” White said in an interview with the Express-News. “I’m tired of it. You know what? We live in a country that, you know, hasn’t been very perfect all the time.”
Although the bill's text does little to explain how a person can legally remove or rename a memorial, it's explicit on what happens to those who disobey.
Anyone who violates this act could face up to a year in jail and be fined anywhere from $50 to $1,000. They'd never be able to run for public office. And if they happen to be an employee of a public university or school district, they'd lose their job and full retirement benefits. This one specificity makes it hard not to guess White's bill is a reaction to 2015 dust-up over the removal of a Jefferson Davis statue on the University of Texas Austin campus.
Currently, there are no state penalties for removing these kind of war memorials.
The bill — which, without a companion bill in the Senate, has little chance of moving forward — would require any monuments that are removed to be "relocated" to some undefined location.
White, who was elected in 2010 as Tea Party candidate and calls the Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans his good friends, isn't trying to erase the fact that these confederate heroes were largely fighting for slavery.
"Obviously, slavery was an issue in the Civil War, and obviously reading various state constitutions of the Confederacy, obviously those constitutions were favorable toward slavery. I’m not going to doubt that," he said. “I mean, it’s history. I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it.”