Fewer Fireworks for McDaniel on Second War-History Protection Measure

A Parkers Crossroads Republican and self-described “history lover,” Rep. Steve McDaniel, has successfully shepherded another military history preservation bill through the Tennessee House chamber.

House Bill 301 passed Monday evening by a vote of 95-0.

The so-called “Tennessee Civil War Site Preservation Act of 2013″ sets up a special account within the state treasury allocated for purchase or preservation of Civil War battle sites, provided that dollar-for-dollar matching money is raised from other sources. While the bill creates, in McDaniel’s words, a “mechanism” for granting state money for preservation, it’s unclear if or when actual funds would be appropriated for the purpose.

McDaniel’s legislation passed with one added amendment from Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, that expanded the bill to include sites in the state relating to the Underground Railroad. McDaniels readily accepted the amendment, saying it made “a good bill better.”

This comes in contrast to the discussion last week of another of McDaniel’s history-related bills that saw him facing hostile questioning by Democrats after rebuffing an amendment to include protections for civil-rights movement memorials in House Bill 553, the “Tennessee Heritage Protection Act.”

The Heritage Act mandates that existing memorials to American involvement in armed conflicts can’t be “relocated, removed, altered, renamed, rededicated, or otherwise disturbed…(by) the governmental entity having responsibility for maintaining any of the items, structures, or areas.”

House Bill 553 passed the House 69-22-3 on Feb. 25. Only four House Democrats voted for it: Charles Curtiss of Sparta, Joe Pitts of Clarksville, Jason Powell of Nashville and John Mark Windle of Livingston.

Both pieces of legislation are awaiting hearings in the Senate State and Local Government Committee; The Senate’s version of HB553 — SB836, sponsored by Murfreesboro Republican Bill Ketron — is scheduled for discussion in the committee Wednesday.

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