House OKs letting Tenn. gov not sign Confederate general day

Published 8:51 am Monday, March 16, 2020

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee would no longer be required by law to sign a proclamation that names a day each year after a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader, according to legislation passed by the state House on Thursday.

The unopposed vote in the Republican-led Legislature moves action to the Senate on the bill that targets Nathan Bedford Forrest. Among the critics of the day dedicated to Forrest is GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who last summer called for Lee to change the law.

The Republican governor pushed the legislation, which initially sought to remove Nathan Bedford Forrest Day as a day of special observance. House lawmakers amended the bill to keep the day in state law, but remove the requirement that the governor sign off on proclamations for special days of observance.

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Lawmakers did not mention Forrest during brief floor discussion Thursday.

According to the law in question, Tennessee governors must sign six proclamations throughout the year designating the following days of special observance: Robert E. Lee Day (January 19), Abraham Lincoln Day (February 12), Andrew Jackson Day (March 15), Confederate Decoration Day (June 3), Nathan Bedford Forrest Day (July 13) and Veterans’ Day (November 11).