House lawmakers approved House Bill 71 – the so-called “monuments bill” – on Monday, May 15.

The bill, if signed into law, would forbid the removal, renaming or alteration of any military monument in the state, including Confederate monuments, unless a majority of voters in a city or parish approve them.

The bill passed the House largely along party lines: 65-31.

The bill will move to the Senate for additional debate and is expected to be taken up by the Governmental Affairs Committee as early as next week. The committee is chaired by State Sen. Karen Carter-Peterson, D-New Orleans.

Former U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness said the bill is about protecting military veteran monuments. “That’s it,” he said.

While Gov. John Bel Edwards didn’t say he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk, he did call the legislation problematic.

“This is a very difficult issue for a lot of people,” he said. “I understand that the passion runs high. While it’s certainly part of our history, can we say it’s the best part?”

If the bill makes it through the legislative process, it is not retroactive, so there is little chance it would have any bearing on the Confederate monuments in New Orleans.

There are two other Confederate monuments in Louisiana: Caddo Parish Confederate Monument in Shreveport and the Confederate soldiers monument in front of the East Feliciana courthouse in Clinton.