Georgia House passes bill increasing monument protections

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Confederate monuments and other memorials in Georgia could soon have greater protections under a bill passed by the state House.

The bill, passed Thursday, says anyone who damages or destroys a monument could be liable for triple the cost to repair or replace it.

It comes amid a nationwide push to remove statues honoring the Confederacy. Similar legislation in other states has been criticized for protecting those statues.

Sen. Jeff Mullis, who is white, has said the bill he authored protects history, including civil rights monuments.

Rep. Karen Bennett, who is black, says it protects Confederate monuments that "continue to inflame and divide our state" and act as reminder of "the pain, ill will and shame of slavery."

The bill now goes back to the Senate to consider House changes.