FLORENCE — Lauderdale County commissioners on Monday amended the policy on public input at its meetings. The change requires that anyone who wants to speak must sign a form ahead of time.
Monday's meeting went by swiftly, ending within 30 minutes and with the only commentary regarding the Confederate monument coming from two people against moving it.
Previous commission meetings had included numerous comments from the public about the monument, the majority of which were in favor of moving it to Soldier's Rest in Florence City Cemetery.
However, at its July 13 meeting, the commission invoked a section of its bylaws that kept comments on one particular subject down to two people on each side of the matter.
That continued Monday, and the only speakers were two who had spoken at previous commission meetings in opposition to moving the monument.
David Carson told the commission people are "starting to wake up" and share their sentiments in favor of keeping the monument in front of the courthouse.
"I think a lot of people in this area are still asleep to just how serious this all is," Carson said.
Magnolia Knight said it is important to her to state her desire to keep the monument.
"Our voices are important," Knight said. "Our presence is important."
As in previous commission meetings, a group gathered outside the courthouse to protest the monument's presence there.
Commissioners have said they oppose moving the monument because that would break a 2017 state law that forbids moving monuments that have been in place for more than 40 years.
The Confederate monument was dedicated in 1903.
The monument belongs to the city, and City Council members said they want to move it. However, they will not do so without a resolution from the commission allowing the city to do so, and stating the city would not be held liable if any damage was done in the process.
Commissioners said they will not issue a resolution because that would violate the 2017 law.