Mississippi Today: House Passes First Step to Change State Flag

By Geoff Pender and Kayleigh Skinner
Mississippi Today

The House of Representatives on Saturday began the legislative process to remove the Mississippi state flag, which features the Confederate battle emblem, marking the first successful legislative action to change the flag since it was adopted by lawmakers in 1894.

The House Rules committee passed a resolution on Saturday afternoon that would suspend the chamber’s rules so that lawmakers can consider a bill that would change or remove the flag. Immediately afterwards, it went to the floor for a vote and passed 85-35.

The resolution states a commission would be created to redesign the state flag. The commission would recommend a new design by Sept. 14, 2020 and voters would vote on it a special election on Nov. 3, 2020. The design “would not include the Confederate battle flag but shall include the words “In God We Trust.”” Should voters reject that design, the commission would present a new option during the 2021 legislative session, according to the resolution.

Only one lawmaker — Rep. Jeffrey Guice, R-Ocean Springs — attempted to add an amendment to the resolution to take the issue to the ballot for a statewide referendum rather than the Legislature taking action to remove the flag. It failed on a loud voice vote.

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