After initially saying he had no plans to try changing a state law that requires the governor to annually issue a proclamation honoring an early Ku Klux Klan leader, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) reversed course and said he would seek to change the law. Under Volunteer State law, the governor must decree July 13th as “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” in honor of the Confederate general who also served as the hate-group’s first Grand Wizard.
Forrest’s birthday was a state holiday until 1969, when lawmakers amended the law to instead require only the governor’s proclamation. In a social media post last week, Lee said, “Our state's history is rich, complex and in some cases painful” and that he wanted residents to “know where my heart is on this issue.” In that regard, he said, “I will be working to change this law.”
A Lee spokesperson said the governor would work with lawmakers on the issue next session. (TENNESSEAN [NASHVILLE], CNN)