Florida Sen. Lauren Book files proposal to end Confederate holidays

SB 250 would also do away with statutory protections for Confederate flags and emblems.

click to enlarge Demonstrators near Hillsborough County Sheriff's offices in Tampa, Florida on Aug. 14, 2021. - Dave Decker
Dave Decker
Demonstrators near Hillsborough County Sheriff's offices in Tampa, Florida on Aug. 14, 2021.

A proposal that would end legal holidays marking the birthdays of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, along with Confederate Memorial Day, has been revived in the Florida Senate. The measure (SB 250), filed Friday by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, would also do away with statutory protections for Confederate flags and emblems.

State law makes it unlawful for people and companies to sell or advertise merchandise that includes either Florida’s state flag or emblem or any of the flags or emblems used by the Confederate States. Included in the ban are the flags and emblems used by the “military or naval forces of the Confederate States at any time within the years 1860 to 1865.” The law notes that Confederate flags and other items can be used for “decorative or patriotic purposes.” Lee’s birthday, Jan. 19, and Confederate Memorial Day, April 26, have been legal holidays in Florida since 1895. Davis’ June 3 birthday was added in 1905.

The three Confederate holidays are not paid holidays for public employees in the Sunshine State, however. Florida is one of five states that have kept Confederate Memorial Day a legal holiday.

Book filed the proposal for consideration during the 2022 legislative session, which will begin Jan. 11. In past sessions, similar proposals have drawn objections from people who argued the changes would erase Southern history.



Scroll to read more Florida News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]