Memphis lawmaker calls on Gov. Haslam to help with Confederate monument removal

Memphis lawmaker calls on Gov. Haslam to help with Confederate monument removal

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis City Council Member is putting pressure on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

Bill Morrison is asking Haslam to call a special session and repeal the law that protects Confederate monuments.

City Council and Mayor Jim Strickland have already voted in favor of removing the Memphis monuments honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest and Robert E. Lee.

However, a state law forces local lawmakers to get permission from a special board if they want to remove Confederate monuments.

That's something Morrison is upset about.

The Heritage Act was passed in 2016. After it became law, Tennessee Historical Commission had to vote with a two-thirds majority to approve the removal of any Confederate monuments.

Morrison said the law wrongly takes the power out of the hands of officials were directly elected by the people who will see the monuments every day.

"Let us run our city; this is such a simple task," Morrison said.

Morrison said if Haslam called a special session Memphis could have the statues removed in two days.

The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in support of removing Memphis' Confederate monuments.

"In 2013, the Greater Memphis Chamber supported the name change of the Confederate parks and the removal of these statues. We have been consistent in our position that we are opposed to any symbol that divides us and is a detriment to our ability to attract and retain business and people to our community. We support our city's action to remove the statues and look forward to moving Memphis forward in our creation of jobs, attraction of business and enjoyment of public spaces for all."

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