A Confederate monument that would have stronger protection under SB77.

State representatives approved a bill Thursday that would strengthen protections for monuments and statues, including those honoring the Confederacy.

Anyone who destroys or removes a monument faces a fine of up to three times the amount of damage they caused.

And, if a monument is moved for construction or other reasons, it must be placed somewhere of equal prominence.

Republican Rep. Alan Powell, who carried the bill in the House, said it's a matter of respect.

"Is there no greater hate crime than to destroy history?” Powell said. “To destroy a monument that was put out there to remember what came before."

But the bill faced fierce opposition from Democrats and other members in the House, including Karen Bennett. She said certain monuments honor a dark time for many African-Americans.

"It is cruel to be reminded repeatedly and without choice of the pain, ill-will and shame of slavery,” Bennet said, asking her colleagues to vote no.

The bill cleared the chamber by a vote of 100 to 71.

Now, it is up to the governor to sign or veto the legislation.