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Insight Denton: Who has the final say-so on removing the Confederate monument?

Denton County Judge Mary Horn says the Texas Historical Commission decides whether or not the controversial Confederate monument on the Square can be taken down.

She's not wrong.

The Courthouse on the Square and everything on its lawn is considered a State Antiquities Landmark, meaning commissioners need a permit from the Texas Historical Commission to make any changes.

According to a memo from Mark Wolfe, executive director of the Texas Historical Commission, the property owner must notify the THC if they want to remove anything from the property. Within 30 days of that notification, the THC will provide the property owner with a permit application.

Once that application is submitted, the THC has 60 days to decide whether or not a permit will be issued. If a permit application is denied, the project can't move forward.

Many are discussing the potential removal and relocation of Confederate monuments and markers — objects that not only communicate that history, but have themselves become part of history," the memo reads. "The Commission's authority over these decisions depends on the location of the objects and their level of designation."

There are some consequences if property owners do any work on a landmark site without a permit.

The State Antiquities Code defines any violation as a misdemeanor. Each violation carries a fine of up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail. Moreover, each day that someone is in violation of the law is considered a separate offense. 

Basically, Denton County could be fined $1,000 for each day the monument isn't on the Courthouse lawn, but only if commissioners remove it without a permit.

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