Legislation that would've changed a state holiday for Robert E. Lee from the third Monday in January to the second Monday in October didn't garner enough support to pass out of a Senate committee on Wednesday.
Alabama currently has two state holidays on the third Monday in January for Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee. Senate Bill 130 by State Sen. Vivian Figures (D-Mobile) would leave the state holiday for King on the third Monday in January and move the holiday for Lee to Columbus Day on the second Monday in October.
King was a Baptist minister and civil rights leader. Lee was an officer in the United States Army and a Confederate general.
Figures said at the meeting they were trying to separate the holidays of two men "whose ideologies were totally separate from one end of the totem pole to the other."
"One believed in justice and fairness for all and another one believed in slavery. We want to separate them," Figures said. "We can not move Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday to his death date in April because of course General Lee's birthday was a state holiday before Dr. King's birthday became a federal holiday and since it's a federal holiday we can not move it. We can move General Lee's birthday or his celebration day to his death date which happens to be Columbus Day which also is a federal holiday which means we do not have to create a new state holiday because we already celebrate that day where everybody is off as well."
The legislation failed on a voice vote on Wednesday afternoon in the Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee.
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