Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Bill on defacing Capitol advances

- — Michael R. Wickline

The Senate on Monday approved a bill that would set penalties for damage to buildings on the state Capitol grounds, on the Capitol Mall and at the Governor’s Mansion.

The Senate voted 35-0 to send to the governor House Bill 1313 by Rep. Johnny Rye, R-Trumann.

Under the bill, a person commits the offense of defacing or damaging a public building or an object of public respect if he or she purposely defaces, mars, vandalizes, destroys or otherwise damages the Capitol building; any other building on the Capitol grounds, on the Capitol Mall and on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion; or any publicly owned monument, statue, fixture or landscape on the Capitol grounds, Capitol Mall or Governor’s Mansion grounds.

The bill would define a publicly owned monument as an object on public land that commemorat­es a person, people or an event that has become relevant to a social group as part of the social group’s remembranc­e of historic times or is part of the social group’s cultural heritage due to the object’s artistic, historic, social, political, technical or architectu­ral importance.

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