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Legislation introduced to protect monuments from vandalism, destruction

Critics question the motive behind the legislation, and if it's being introduced to protect monuments tied to slavery

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A state lawmaker has unveiled legislation to make sure people who destroy monuments and statues are brought to justice. However, it has some lawmakers questioning the intent of this legislation. 

"It's not up to any of use to rewrite our history," said Sen. Doug Mastriano, (R)  Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, York Counties. "But, rather come to terms with it, understand it."

Ensuring the protection of what he says are historic monuments and statues, Sen. Mastriano unveiled legislation to increase fines, penalties and jail time for people who destruct any monument or statue in the state. 

 "It only happens because we allow it," said Sen. Mastriano. "And this legislation will reign this kind of madness in." 

The legislation comes after monuments and statues, many with ties to the Confederacy and slavery, were targeted during protects over the summer. 

"The target of these vandals is America itself," said Sen. Mastriano. "It's about destroying our heritage and legacy. It's time we stand together and say we are protecting our heritage and legacy."

RELATED: National and local leaders work to protect monuments from vandalism

"It is a tremendous mistake," said Sen. Art Haywood, (D) Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. 

Sen. Haywood isn't necessarily against protecting monuments and statues, but questions Sen. Mastriano's legislation and if it is being proposed to only protect those tied to slavery. He says, those monuments should have never been put up in the first place. 

"This nation should not protect the legacy of white supremacy," said Sen. Haywood. "I'm so disappointed he has such a narrow view of American history not to see that enslavement was wrong and should not be honored or recognized in any way."

The bill is currently in committee where it must be passed before going to the senate for a vote. 

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