MISSISSIPPI lawmakers voted on Sunday in favor of removing the Confederate symbol from the state flag, one day after the state’s Republican governor said he’d sign a bill to remove it.
The Senate voted 37-14 on after the bill passed the House by a 91-23 vote – confirming an earlier vote from the House to suspend rules and introduce a bill to take down the state flag.
The Mississippi state flag, with the Confederate symbol, is seen here flying outside the Capitol in Jackson on Thursday[/caption]
The state flag has red, white, and blue stripes with the Confederate flag in the top left corner.
Mississippi’s House and Senate voted Sunday afternoon to retire the flag.
Republican Governor Tate Reeves agreed to sign the bill, but it is unknown when the signing would occur.
Once the bill is signed, the state flag would drop its official status.
State Senator Derrick Simmons pushed for the “Mississippi of tomorrow,” prior to Sunday’s vote, according to NBC News.
He said: “In the name of history I stand for my two sons, who are one and six years old, who should be educated in schools and be able to frequent businesses and express their black voices in public places that all fly a symbol of love not hate.”
A new flag, which would be voted on, will not allow the Confederate symbol and must have the words “In God We Trust.”
Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn, a white man who has been supporting the flag change for five years, said: “How sweet it is to celebrate this on the Lords day.
“Many prayed to Him to bring us to this day. He has answered.”
The House first voted 85-34 on Saturday, winning a necessary two-thirds vote to advance the move, WJTV reported.
The Mississippi Clarion Ledger reported that after passing in the House, the resolution would head to the Senate — where it also required a two-thirds vote to pass.
Mississippi’s annual legislative session is almost over, and it takes a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate to consider a bill after the normal deadlines have passed.
Speaker Pro Tem Jason White said on the House floor: “Many opponents of changing the state flag say we should stand up to what is right, that we shouldn’t cave to outside pressure. Even if it’s bad for business.”
“I agree with those people. I’m here today because it is simply the right thing to do.”
Larry Eubanks, seen waving the state flag here, said he supports the current flag and hopes lawmakers would allow registered voters to vote on a proposed flag change[/caption]
Earlier on Saturday, Reeves said he’d sign legislation to change the flag if the Legislature passed one.
Reeves had previously said that he would not veto one, but later tweeted: “The legislature has been deadlocked for days as it considers a new state flag.”
“The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it. If they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it.”
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The process includes two steps: First, legislators must suspend the deadline with two-thirds majorities.
Then, lawmakers must take a separate vote on a flag bill, with only a simple majority needed to pass it and send it to the governor.
The House voted on Saturday to suspend the rules.