Tennessee commissions aim for final votes on Confederate general’s capitol building bust


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Plans for a final vote on whether or not to remove a Confederate general’s bust from the Tennessee Capitol Building remain on track for February. This, despite a lawsuit along with a separate reminder from the legislature’s top leaders.

That word Tuesday from the Tennessee Historical Commission, whose members make the final decision on what to do with General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bust that sits between House and Senate chambers on the capitol’s second floor.

“The legislative attorneys have told us they felt the process involves the State Building Commission,” Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton told News 2 Tuesday.

The speaker and Lt. Governor Randy McNally said the State Building Commission needs to sign off on the July decision by the Tennessee Capitol commission to relocate the Confederate general’s bust to the state museum.

“We think that means there should be a vote. we are hopeful that by the end of the year of the state building commission as we continue to move forward,” added Speaker Sexton during his interview Tuesday with News 2.

There’s also a recent lawsuit from the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) who raised money for the bust during the 1970s.

The group’s attorney said The Capitol Commission did not have jurisdiction to grant a waiver to remove the bust.

Doug Jones argued in the lawsuit that the legislature initially put the Confederate general’s bust at the capitol and lawmakers should decide if it stays there.

To both the lawsuit and the State Building Commission involvement, a Tennessee Historical Commission spokesperson said Tuesday in a statement that, “Thus far, nothing has prevented the waiver process from proceeding…—not the SCV suit or the involvement of the State Building Commission.”

Spokesperson Susan McClamroch added that the first Tennessee Historical Commission meeting on the bust is scheduled for October 16th to identify those called “stakeholders.”

A final vote about removing the bust is scheduled for February.

A hearing in a Nashville court has yet to be scheduled on the Sons of Confederate Veterans lawsuit to keep the Forrest bust at the capitol.

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