MISSISSIPPI — UPDATE 6/28/20:
The Mississippi Legislature reconvened Sunday to continue to vote on changing the state flag.
The House passed a bill Sunday with 91 yes votes and 23 nay votes.
The bill calls for a commission to be charged with creating the design for a new state flag. The new flag cannot have the Confederate symbol and must have the phrase, “In God We Trust.”
The design will be presented to lawmakers no later than Sept. 14 and voters will be asked to vote yes or no on the design on the November 3 ballot.
If a majority of yes votes is not received, the process of designing a new state flag will begin again.
The commission will consist of 9 members: 3 chosen by the Speaker of the House, 3 by the Lt. Governor, and 3 by the Governor.
Those three Gov. appointments will include one member from the economic council, one from the arts commission and one representative from the board of trustees from the MS Dept. of Archives and History.
Those nine appointments shall be made no later than July 15.
The commission will meet as soon as practical as soon as the appointments are made.
The flag’s supporters resisted efforts to change it for decades. But rapid developments in recent weeks have changed political dynamics. Protests against racial injustice have spread in the United States. And leaders from business, religion, education and sports are pushing Mississippi to change its flag.
Saturday, Mississippi House and Senate voted to remove Confederate imagery from the state flag.
House Concurrent 79 was approved by a vote of 85-34.
The Senate voted to approve a bill to suspend the rules and create a committee to change the Mississippi flag.
A committee would design a new flag to include the words “In God We Trust.”
Voters would decide in November whether to endorse that design.
Mississippi has used the same flag for more than 125 years.
Religious, education, sports and business leaders are pushing legislators to remove the Confederate symbol.
Before the vote, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said if the legislature passed a bill to remove the confederate imagery from the Mississippi state flag, he would sign it.
In a Facebook post, the governor said:
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.
We should not be under any illusion that a vote in the Capitol is the end of what must be done—the job before us is to bring the state together and I intend to work night and day to do it.
It will be harder than recovering from tornadoes, harder than historic floods, harder than agency corruption, or prison riots or the coming hurricane season—even harder than battling the Coronavirus.
For economic prosperity and for a better future for my kids and yours, we must find a way to come together. To heal our wounds, to forgive, to resolve that the page has been turned, to trust each other. With God’s help, we can.
No matter where you are...I love you, Mississippi.
AP contributed to this report.
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