Democrats’ wins could help bring down Confederate statues

Democrats’ wins could help bring down Confederate statues
In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, photo, a visitor eats lunch in front of a statue of Robert E. Lee that is surrounded by fencing and a No Trespassing sign in Charlottesville, Va., at the park that was the focus of the Unite the Right rally. (Source: AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democrats won control of Virginia government for the first time in decades on Election Day, and that means Confederate statues could soon be coming down in a state that's full of them.

The long-running debate over whether such displays are appropriate in public spaces intensified after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville grew violent two years ago, and many communities around the country quickly started taking monuments down.

But in Virginia, local governments have been hamstrung by a 1904 state law that protects war veterans' memorials.

Previous attempts to amend it have been quickly dispatched in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, in votes largely along party lines. Democrats see an opening now.

One lawmaker who represents Charlottesville says she intends to propose a bill that would give cities and counties control.

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