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'I Will Sign It': Mississippi Moves to Change Its Flag

GOP Gov. Tate Reeves embraces the idea for the first time
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 27, 2020 3:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Spectators at the Mississippi Capitol broke into applause Saturday as lawmakers took a big step toward erasing the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, a symbol that has come under intensifying criticism in recent weeks amid nationwide protests against racial injustice, the AP reports. "The eyes of the state, the nation and indeed the world are on this House," the second-ranking office in the Mississippi House, Jason White, told his colleagues. The House and Senate voted by more than the required two-thirds majority to suspend legislative deadlines and file a bill to change the flag. That would allow debate on a bill as soon as Sunday. Saturday's vote was the big test, though, because of the margin. Only a simple majority is needed to pass a bill.

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Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said Saturday for the first time that he would sign a bill to change the flag if the Republican-controlled Legislature sends him one. He had previously said that he would not veto one—a more passive stance. "The legislature has been deadlocked for days as it considers a new state flag," Reeves said on social media. "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." A bill will say the current flag will be removed from state law. A commission would design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate battle emblem but must include the phrase “In God We Trust." The new design would be put on the ballot Nov. 3.
(Read more Confederate stories.)

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