Mississippi’s House and Senate lawmakers yesterday voted with bipartisan support to change the state flag by removing a Confederate battle emblem that’s broadly condemned as racist.
The House passed a bill 91-23 and the Senate passed it 37-14 later in the day.
Governor Tate Reeves has said he will sign the bill, and the state flag will lose its official status as soon as he signs it. A commission would design a new flag that would not include the Confederate symbol and which must include the words “In God We Trust,” according to the bill.
Under the legislation, the new design — without the Confederate symbol — would appear on the ballot November 3, but it would be the only choice. If a majority were to accept the new design, it would become the state flag. If a majority were to reject it, the commission would design a new flag using the same guidelines.
House Speaker Philip Gunn has pushed for five years to change the flag, saying that the Confederate symbol was offensive.
The flag’s supporters resisted efforts to change it for decades, but rapid developments in recent weeks have changed dynamics on this issue in the tradition-bound state.