In a 2015 interview, Deal said the change was meant to "show that we are a state that has come a very long way."
“It’s hopefully a good faith effort on the part of state government to lower the degree of debate and discussion, and to show that we are a state that has come a very long way," he said. "We are tolerant of a lot of things. But we will also protect our heritage. But this was not one of those areas where I thought it was necessary to keep those labels associated with the holiday.”
The debate, of course, rages on.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, which labeled the governor's move "an act of dishonor," recently sent an email to members notifying them it has hired a lobbying firm to help influence the debate over the thorny question of Confederate monuments in changing communities.
And Democrats are already mustering behind a proposal: Two Democratic legislators, Sen. Elena Parent of Atlanta and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver of Decatur, have introduced legislation that would permit local governments to determine the fate of Confederate monuments on their ground.
Check out other recent AJC coverage of this issue:
Confederate group hires a lobbyist for a 2018 fight over statues
Georgia gears up for fraught legislative debate on Rebel monuments