House Rules Chair Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, said two monument bills before his committee had not been a priority thus far, but that he would look at them before Tuesday night’s deadline.
“Right now, they are not a priority,” he said, adding, “I doubt seriously I will be taking them up.”
But Turner added that he would not make a decision before further studying the bills.
“Wait and see what happens tomorrow,” he said.Rep. Tom Weathersby, R-Florence and the chairman of the House Public Property Committee, told Mississippi Today on Monday morning that he won’t take up the monument bills in his committee. “They don’t have a good chance of coming up, unless the Senate sends us something,” Weathersby said. “They’re likely dead.” Three similar Senate bills have been filed, but all of them were double-referred, a legislative tactic often designed to kill legislation. If those bills were to remain alive, they’d have to pass through two committees before Tuesday’s deadline. One of those bills must pass through the Senate Public Property Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Angela Turner-Ford, D-West Point, the current chair of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus. Johnny Morgan, a former state senator and the brother of IHL board member Chip Morgan, sent an email to dozens of friends and associates on Friday asking them to call legislative leaders and ask that they push the monument bills through committee. “I feel comfortable (the bills) will pass and further preserve our Southern heritage,” Morgan wrote in the email that shares language pushed on social media by several pro-Confederate groups. In a phone interview with Mississippi Today on Monday morning, Morgan criticized “certain groups that decided they want to change history.” When asked if he had discussed the monument relocation with his brother, he replied: “Not really.” “It came up (in the January IHL meeting) and I said, ‘Wait a minute, this is a problem,'” Morgan told Mississippi Today in a phone interview. “There’s nothing you can do about history. Some people recognize it, and some people don’t. I think the monuments to World War II, World War I, the war between the states, and the Gulf War – all these people put their lives on the line for these causes. To erase all that is absolutely ridiculous.” Several Confederate heritage groups — including the Our State Flag Foundation and Make Ole Miss Great Again Inc. — have posted language identical to Morgan’s email on social media and asked supporters to call legislative leaders. In February and March 2019, the university’s student senate, faculty senate, graduate student council, staff council and top administrative officials passed a measure that called for the monument’s relocation to an on-campus graveyard where Confederate soldiers are buried. The cemetery is located in a corner of campus not visible from main thoroughfares.
‘What we stand for as an Ole Miss family’: Meet the students leading a multiracial, bipartisan movement to relocate the school’s Confederate monument