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Charlottesville City Council Lays out Legislative Proposals on Demonstrations, Statues

Posted: Updated: Nov 30, 2017 04:48 PM
from Aug. 12 in Charlottesville from Aug. 12 in Charlottesville
Supporters of the statue of General Robert E. Lee holding torches in Lee Park (Photo courtesy @realmemealert) Supporters of the statue of General Robert E. Lee holding torches in Lee Park (Photo courtesy @realmemealert)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

People can now get a first look at some of the recommendations the city of Charlottesville is sending to lawmakers following the Aug. 12 violence.

Every year, localities send their legislative priorities to their representatives in hopes of seeing laws added or changed. This year, Charlottesville City Council will look at proposals dealing with demonstrations and the Confederate statues that sparked all the debate.

City Council is looking into two bills they want the General Assembly to see in 2018. Councilors say they want to prevent an event like Aug. 12 from ever happening again.

"So the city of Charlottesville along with all the other localities in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District area have come up with a legislative agenda,” Miriam Dickler, city spokesperson, said.

Every year, Charlottesville sends its legislative priorities to representatives in hopes of changing laws.

“There are certain things that cities and localities in Virginia need enabling legislation from the state government to enact,” Dickler said.

This year, the recommendations the city is sending ties to the Aug. 12 violence.

"Should something come up that's on one of these agendas or has some other relevance then the city or our friends at TJPDC or one of the other localities might reach out specifically to legislators on that matter,” Dickler said.

One bill would give localities more control over weapons in public spaces and prevent the use of certain types of semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and torches used for intimidation.

"So this is something that would specifically call out torches, with their history of vigilante justice and grouping and other kinds of violent, particularly despicable way of protesting in public areas,” Councilor Kristin Szakos said.

The other bill would give cities and counties complete authority to make decisions on what to do with different Confederate monuments.

"It will clarify that the lawsuit that's currently been brought against the city but also make it clear to other cities that it is something they can do."

Councilors say without preventative measures, what happened in Charlottesville this summer could still happen anywhere in Virginia.

"We want to make sure that we have as many tools in our toolbox as we can have and this would help us,” Szakos said.

The bills will be brought up during City Council's meeting on Monday. From there, the bills will be passed to 57th District Del. David Toscano (D) and 58th District Del. Rob Bell (R) who have the option of sponsoring them in General Assembly next year.

Toscano is already preparing several bills in response to Aug. 12.