It's almost done: Mississippi lawmakers on Sunday passed a bill to change the state flag. After voting Saturday to suspend legislative deadlines and file the bill, the GOP-controlled state legislature held debates on the bill Sunday and voted, with the House passing the bill 91-23 and the Senate then opening its own session and ultimately passing the bill 37-14. The Mississippi Clarion-Ledger has a detailed timeline of how the day went. The bottom line: The current flag, which features the Confederate battle emblem and is the last remaining state flag to include the Confederate flag symbol after others dropped it, will be scrapped. A nine-member commission will start the process of selecting a new flag, and residents will vote on that new flag in November. If rejected, the process will start over again and another vote will be held in November 2021.
The bill prevents the Confederate battle emblem from being included on any future designs. The state's Republican governor, Tate Reeves, who on Saturday agreed for the first time to sign the bill, said Sunday that he won't do so immediately. "The governor does not want to rush this moment in history for our state," a spokesperson said. "Once the legislature sends the final bill to his desk and he's had the opportunity to review it, Gov. Reeves will sign the bill in the coming days." Though polling had shown until earlier this month that a majority of state residents wanted to keep the flag as-is, the latest polling shows 55% of Mississippians are ready for a change, CBS News reports. "Big salute to EVERY university in this State that helped," tweeted Kylin Hill, the Mississippi State All-SEC running back who, per AL.com, threatened to sit out the season if the flag was not changed. The NCAA, SEC, and Conference USA all decided not to hold championships in the state if the flag was not changed. (Read more Mississippi stories.)