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Louisiana Legislature agrees to get rid of Confederate state holidays

The Louisiana State Capitol (Wesley Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)

BY: JC CANICOSA Louisiana Illuminator

Robert E. Lee Day and Confederate Memorial Day haven’t been celebrated in Louisiana in decades, but they still exist on the state’s calendar of official holidays.

That will change after House Bill 248, authored by Rep. Matthew Willard, receives Senate approval. It removes Robert E. Lee Day and Confederate Memorial Day from the state’s legal holiday calendar. Senators voted 28-4 in favor of the bill Friday. The House of Representatives previously approved it, 62-20.

Last month, Willard said to the Senate Judiciary A Committee that he had received death threats over his legislation but continued to carry the bill “because it’s the right thing to do.”

Critics of the proposal said they believed the Confederate holidays should stay in the books so that future generations don’t forget the negative aspects of the country’s history.

Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, who carried the bill in the Senate for Willard, said Louisiana could remember “the darkest time in our history” without celebrating it as a holiday.

Willard’s bill moves to the governor’s desk for his signature.

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