The Texas Monument Protection Act – Senate Bill 1416

March 10, 2021

The Texas Monument Protection Act – Senate Bill 1416

Today I filed Senate Bill 1416, the Texas Monument Protection Act.  Since I passed the same bill two years ago, Texas, the nation and the world have seen historical monuments toppled, defaced and destroyed.  In some instances, activist city officials have acted unilaterally removing monuments and statues in the dark of night or having them relocated to another city without any public input.  

Our past is complicated, and our republic was built by imperfect men and women.  There are parts of Texas history that we can learn from–good and bad, but running from history will only prevent future generations from learning the hard lessons. This legislation creates a framework for removal or relocation of historical monuments in the state, ensuring public input and a well thought out process.  

When this bill was debated in the 86th Legislative session, critics made the false assumption that it was only focused on Civil War monuments–however, in the last year, monuments to George Washington, the Alamo, Ulysses S. Grant, Mahatma Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Sam Houston, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and many others have been removed, destroyed or defaced.  We are at a crossroads where a vocal minority believes our founding fathers, Union Generals, and historical luminaries who shaped our society are too controversial.  I have to ask, when does cancel culture win over acknowledging and teaching our past– whether great or painful?

This bill: 

  • Protects all monuments…from the 10 Commandments to the San Jacinto Monument, from the Alamo to schools and streets named after Lincoln, Washington or Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Creates a process, and requires public input for the removal, relocation, and altering of Texas’ statues, portraits, plaques, seals, symbols, building names, street names, park names, and cenotaphs.  
  • Utilizes the Texas Preservation Trust Fund Account so new monuments and plaques can be erected to compliment or contrast with existing monuments.  (e.g. Lee & Grant, Lincoln & Douglas)
  • Includes a penalty with a maximum $1500 fine for the first offense and $25,000 fine for subsequent offenses.

This bill is urgent, and this bill is necessary to ensure that future generations have a full picture of our past, and can chart a course forward to learn from history.