MS will remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag

Robert E. Lee Monument

MS lawmakers over the weekend paved the way for a new state flag which would see the Confederate battle emblem no longer displayed, the last state to remove the symbol from its flag.

It passed the House on Sunday by a vote of 91-23, quickly followed by a 37-14 Senate vote.

On Saturday, both the House of Representatives and Senate voted to suspend the rules.

"Some people might even say it is no coincidence we are here today on the Lord's day", said Rep.

If voters reject the new design in November, the commission will try again for a new flag that would be presented to the Legislature during the 2021 session. The new design will include the phrase "In God, We Trust".

The possibility remains that should the flag proposed in November not get a majority vote, or the Legislature may not ratify that approval in January, which would leave MS in a kind of limbo vis-a-vis having an official flag. It would take a two-thirds vote. If not, the commission will be asked to try again. "We welcome this important move by state lawmakers to remove the symbol from prominence in the state, which will also open the opportunity to host NCAA championships after the recently expanded championship policy". The Democratic governor in 2000, Ronnie Musgrove, appointed a commission to decide the flag's future.

On Sunday, they agreed, passing a resolution that Gov. Tate Reeves has indicated he will sign. He compared what was happening in the Capitol to a train leaving the station.

"I don't apologize for being emotional", Magee said during the signing.

The bill was immediately released to the Senate where it faced its second round of debate.

Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), one of the most vocal opponents of the measure, described attempts to change it as part of an effort to challenge the founding values of the country, warning that the American flag was next.

"Now that this is gone, they will begin to look and see who the real MS is, and see that we are more than what that flag represents", Johnson said.

"By changing our flag, we don't abandon our founding principles", he said. "Mississippi needs to have a flag that is great for all the citizens in our state".

The question raises a concern that eventually a new flag, will have to be removed again.

Business groups said the banner hinders economic development in one of the poorest states in the nation.

The state flag of MS has always been controversial, but sports has begun attempting to influence the process in recent weeks.

Since 2001, when voters decisively approved the flag in a referendum, the line taken by many MS lawmakers was that only another statewide vote could change it. Hill attempted to expand the commission to 17 members and not 9. "I have lived through some things with this flag and as they told Dr. King to wait - time for waiting is over".

Senator Brice Wiggins made a motion to table the amendment, which passed by a vote of 32 to 19, making the amendment ineffective.

Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel, who also pushed for a statewide vote, said: "You have to let the people have their say sometimes if for no other reason than to diffuse their anger. I think the world, most certainly the US, is going to view MS after today's vote".



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