NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Lawmakers in Tennessee have voted to keep the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest inside state capitol building.

Forrest was a Confederate general during the Civil War and a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. A bust of Forrest sits inside the state capitol building. 

Tuesday afternoon, House lawmakers took up a resolution suggesting the removal of the Forrest bust from the state capitol building. The resolution suggested replacing the bust with a tribute to a more deserving Tennessean.

The house committee has been dealing with the resolution since January. 

The committee voted down the resolution 11 votes to 5 Tuesday. 

If the resolution had passed, both the Capitol Commission and Tennessee Historical Commission would still need to approve the plan. 

A separate house bill, sponsored Rep. London Lamar (D-Memphis) calls for the removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest Day as a day of special observance.

The billed passed the House Naming, Designating and Private Acts Committee Tuesday by a one-vote margin.

"What it means to Tennessee is that we are going to continue to move forward," Rep. Lamar said of the bill's passing committee. "We are going to continue to make Tennessee a welcoming state for everybody. That we are going to recognize that we don’t have a perfect past, but we can get it right.”

Next, Lamar's bill will go to the House Calendar and Rules Committee, then the House floor.

Governor Bill Lee has asked the state Senate to pass a bill that would end Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.

By state law, Governor Lee is required to sign a proclamation on July 13 every year to recognize Forrest. If the House bill passes, Gov. Lee would not be obligated to sign the proclamation.

 
 

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