Raleigh, N.C. — Efforts to remove public monuments, including Confederacy-related memorials, will now require legislative approval.
Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday signed into law the Historic Artifact Management and Patriotism Act, just two days after the House approved the measure amid heated debate over the idea of protecting Confederate monuments in the wake of a mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., for which a self-professed white supremacist has been charged.
The law prohibits the permanent removal of any "monument, memorial, plaque, statue, marker, or display of a permanent character that commemorates an event, a person, or military service that is part of North Carolina's history" from public property unless the General Assembly passes a law to allow for the removal.
"The protection of our heritage is a matter of statewide significance to ensure that our rich history will always be preserved and remembered for generations to come," McCrory said in a statement. "I remain committed to ensuring that our past, present and future state monuments tell the complete story of North Carolina."
The measure passed the Senate unanimously in April, but that was before nine people were killed five weeks ago in a historic black church in Charleston. Since then, South Carolina has removed a Confederate battle flag from its capitol grounds, and other states and businesses have debated the flag and other symbols linked to the rebel cause.
McCrory said he dislikes the "overreach into local decision making" but said that wasn't enough to keep him from signing the measure.
The governor signed 10 other bills Thursday, including the following:
- House Bill 6, which allows the state to regulate three-wheeled autocycles as motor vehicles, not motorcycles.
- House Bill 201, which eliminates the ability of residents to use a protest petition to block or alter unwanted developments in their neighborhoods.
- House Bill 341, which adds synthetic LSD and other designer drugs to the state's list of controlled substances.