New bill in Texas would abolish Confederate Heroes Day

State lawmakers in Texas heard public testimony on Thursday for a bill that seeks to abolish Confederate Heroes Day, The Austin American-Statesman reported.

The legislation -- House Bill 1183 -- would remove Confederate Heroes Day from the list of holidays that state agencies can observe.

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“When you’re dealing with a holiday that is significant to history, you have to do your best to make sure that it is not offensive to one group or another, and I think this Confederate Heroes Day obviously is in itself offensive to many of the people who are on the other side,” state Rep. Jarvis Johnson (D), who authored the legislation, told the newspaper.

Only one witness, Terry Ayers, testified against the bill, according to the local paper.

During his testimony, Ayers reportedly argued that “no one is forced to observe Confederate Heroes Day” and told the House State Affairs Committee that employees can opt to work on the holiday instead.

Ayers also accused Johnson’s bill of being fueled by bigotry and said it doesn’t take into account the descendants of Confederate soldiers in the state, the paper reported.

“I don’t mind people wanting to embrace their culture — their history — but make for doggone sure it’s not impactful to others and hurtful, because in itself, that’s wrong,” Johnson said.

Johnson argued that allowing Confederate Heroes Day to remain a state holiday would create more divisions among Texans.